Google has guaranteed that all new Chromebooks released from now on will support Android apps. This means any new Chromebooks launched in 2017 and beyond will ship with access to the Google Play Store included as standard without the need for an update.
In 2016, Google announced that Android apps are coming to Chrome OS. Unfortunately, progress has been slow, and at the time of writing, Android apps are available on just three Chromebooks: the Asus Chromebook Flip, the Acer Chromebook R11 / C738T, and the Google Chromebook Pixel (2015).
However, Google is guaranteeing that all new Chromebooks released from now on will support Android apps straight out of the box. We know thanks to a single line of text added to the support page for Chrome OS systems supporting Android apps, as spotted by Ars Technica.
This reads, “All Chromebooks launching in 2017 and after as well as the Chromebooks listed below will work with Android apps in the coming future”. Google then lists more than 60 different Chromebooks from a range of manufacturers, including Acer, Asus, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, and Toshiba.
Android May Consume Chrome OS
Although this is great news for anyone looking to buy a new Chromebook, there is a flipside. Bringing Android apps to Chrome OS could be the first step to merging the two operating systems. Which means Chrome OS may disappear, to be replaced by either Android itself, or the mysterious Andromeda OS.
At the very least, Android is in the ascendancy, with Chrome OS being downgraded. But then can anyone blame Google for pushing its mobile operating system into new territories when Android now powers 9 out of 10 smartphones? Android also boasts an ecosystem ready-made to compete with Windows and macOS.
It’s important to note that Google’s guarantee that all new Chromebooks will support Android apps doesn’t mean you should go out and buy one right away. Because all you’ll find on shelves at the moment are Chromebooks originally released in 2016 and earlier. And these, with the exception of the three listed above, are still waiting for the update allowing them to run Android apps.
[Update at 22:36 UTC: After publication Google added a footnote to the support page saying, “The feature may not be available right ‘out of the box.’ That experience will depend on when the Chromebook launches and when Android Apps on Chrome OS is out of Beta. We don’t have an update right now on timing, but stay tuned.”]
Do you currently own a Chromebook? Do you love it? Hate it? Or think it’s OK? Does your Chromebook support Android apps yet? If so, which Android apps have you installed? If not, are you keenly awaiting the update? Please let us know in the comments below!
Image Credit: David Lofink via Flickr