A few months ago we had come across some buzz that soon Android apps would be available in Chrome OS which means you might be able to use the Android apps that you have been using on your smartphone or tablet on your Chromebook.
The author of this 9to5Google post has been trying out this feature in his Chromebook and he says that although the Google Play Store becomes active when you upgrade your Chrome OS to the latest beta version, some bugs remain and the apps tend to crash occasionally. After updating, the Google Play Store launches automatically and prompts you to login using your preferred Google account. Once you’ve signed in, all the Android apps that you have been using so far are available in Google Chrome OS.
Since this feature is still going through testing phase, it is recommended that you start using Android apps from within Chrome OS in a serious manner.
Here’s a nice video showing some of the Android apps running on an Asus Chromebook:
Why are Android apps becoming available in Chrome OS?
If you haven’t read much about Chrome OS, it’s an operating system for Chromebooks. Chromebooks are laptops that are completely web-based. The moment you switch on this laptop, it is connected to the Internet and you are perpetually working inside a browser window, basically, Google Chrome. Google is promoting Chromebooks aggressively because most of its business comes from cloud-based services (aside from advertising). The company would like more and more people to use web services rather than desktop applications.
A significant problem with Chromebooks is that heavy applications like Microsoft Office Suite cannot be installed as desktop versions. Yes, you can work in Microsoft Office, but only online, just the way you work in Google Docs. Full-fledged PC environment is still required by many and we are still a few years away from running heavy applications like Photoshop directly from the Internet.
Android apps will give Chromebook users to run conventional software apps.
Another reason why Android apps are being made available in Chrome OS is that apps are a great business. According to a recent lawsuit by Oracle, Google has made $31 billion in revenue and $22 billion in profit from its Android operating system. Selling Android-based devices and apps is one of Google’s main businesses and promoting Chromebooks is like weaning people away from that environment, which would be counter-productive if more and more people start using Chromebooks.
If people can use their Google Play Store apps within Chrome OS there will be no reason for them to abandon their favourite mobile apps and they may even purchase apps directly from their Chromebooks, which would be the ultimate aim.