02 August 2016
After a number of reports, rumors, speculations, and a long wait, Google has finally confirmed that Play Store along with its entire collection of Android apps is coming to Chrome OS. It is an announcement which will surely make many of the users happy as they will be able to use their favorite Android apps on their Chromebooks, in addition to existing devices like smartphones and tablets.
Google said that Play Store will first start rolling out to Developer channel with the M53 version in June. It will be made available for the Acer Chromebook R 11, Chromebook Pixel (2015), and Asus Chromebook Flip at the moment. You can check the complete list of eligible Chromebooks but Google has not mentioned which particular model would receive Play Store and apps and when.
Once Android apps are available on Chrome OS, they will be available in three preset window sizes. Each app window will be moveable so that user can multitask easily. Even the notifications for the apps will be received by Chrome OS. Google has also said that touch, mouse, and keyboard input would work together.
As Chromebooks are also used by different organizations like schools for different purposes which means not everyone would appreciate the arrival of Android apps. So, Google has also taken care of that as each administrator will have the right to enable and disable access to Play Store whenever he wants. If they want to block Play Store completely, then there is also an option for whitelisting apps.
But the most surprising thing is under-the-hood working that Google is using for making all this possible. If you might remember, Google started experimenting with the idea of bringing Android apps to Chrome OS in 2014 with the use of App Runtime for Chrome (ARC). It basically ran Android Runtime on top of the Chrome's Native Extension architecture. But the surprising thing is that Google is not using ARC this time.
Instead, Google is using an unmodified copy of Android Framework running in a container. Google said that it left ARC because it was not good enough and developers had to a lot of hard work for making their apps work on Chrome OS.