For me, the maximum interesting assertion at Google I/O in May additionally wasn’t even noted inside the opening-day keynote. During the second one day of the conference, Google dropped some alternatively big information: The Play Shop and Android apps will come to Chromebooks later this year. As someone who is been a big Chrome OS believer for years now, I was quite pleased on the perception of having extra apps and better offline talents. It’s just what the platform wishes to completely flow past its “glorified browser” popularity.
At the same time as the Play Save might not formally come to Chromebooks till the fall, there is a manner to offer it a shot nowadays. If you install the Chrome developer channel on the ASUS Chromebook Turn, you could attempt Android apps out now. I’ve spent the beyond few weeks seeing how an awful lot running Android on a Chromebook modifications the enjoy of the use of the platform — for suitable and for awful.
Earlier than diving in, It’s critical to reiterate that this is not a final build of the software program Google plans to launch this autumn. As such, I ran into a handful of bugs and wellknown performance issues. I am not counting these troubles as a knock in opposition to the characteristic yet, as these items are likely to be fixed by the point the Play Shop reaches clients.
If you’ve used the Play Store on an Android smartphone or pill, you may feel at domestic right here. The Play Save icon suggests up inside the Chrome OS shelf and app launcher, and after you’re in, you may look for any program you want. Of path, not all of them are currently well matched with the Chromebook Turn, however it looks like most apps that run on Android tablets will work right here.
As soon as I downloaded my go-to apps (Slack, Twitter, Trello, Microsoft Phrase and Excel, Spotify, Google Play Track, Google Medical doctors, Hangouts, Maintain, Facebook Messenger) and a smattering of games (Crossy Avenue, P. C-Man 256, Alto’s Journey, Rayman Adventures, Badland), I got down to see how Android apps trade the revel in of the use of a Chromebook. What amazed me the maximum become the realization that, for a whole lot of what I do, Chrome OS web apps are as properly if now not better than their Android options.
The hassle is that most Chrome OS apps are optimized for a conventional pc, Whilst the Android counterparts are constructed with a touchscreen interface in mind. It really is now not to mention that the Android apps failed to work; for the most part, they had been all flawlessly quality. But in Wunderlist, as an example, I was unable to click on and song obligations in my tasks to rearrange the order. In Android, you tap and keep and then drag to reorder items. however, that failed to work at the Chromebook (the early builders’ edition caveat applies here), so reordering things became out of the query.
Google Docs is another instance. The Android app has gotten very capable within the ultimate yr or so, but the internet app still keeps greater of the UI proper up the front, making it easier to dig into menus and execute the format edits and updates you need. The internet app for Slack is some other example where It’s much less difficult to get around. The Android version is designed greater for telephones than large-screened gadgets like drugs and Chromebooks, so that you see plenty extra data while the use of the net. And Whilst offline capabilities for Google Play Music are welcome, you may already shop Play films and Tv indicates offline.
For the file, I am no longer disillusioned with Google’s execution of the Play Shop on Chrome OS. I’m hopeful that builders will make the effort to make their apps work higher on Chrome OS than they do by way of default; maximum programmers haven’t had a risk to optimize their creations for laptops. Indeed, It is much like the hassle Android has long had with drugs: most builders build for phones, with tablets being an afterthought. With any luck, Chromebooks’ rapidly developing marketplace share will help Google convince builders that optimizing their apps for Chrome OS machines is well worth the attempt.
All of these caveats aside, there were a lot of factors I appreciated approximately running Android apps on Chrome OS. Microsoft Word is notable: you can keep files domestically on the Chromebook for enhancing offline or pull things down easily from the cloud through Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Drive. The UI feels appropriate for a large screen, and the overall enjoy felt higher to me than the usage of Workplace at the net. I have shied away from Word in recent years because all I actually need is an easy textual content editor which can share files easily, and Google Doctors has suit the bill. however, this app is making me take a 2d observe Word, given how nicely it now works throughout platforms.
Spotify on Android is any other huge improvement over the net app. The streaming provider has a quite stable Android pill app at this point, and the enjoy is flawlessly replicated here. And, of direction, you could in the end shop Track offline for when you’re away from WiFi. Ditto Google Play Music, if It really is extra for your liking. The format is much like the web app, however being capable of save things offline makes a big distinction. You may additionally placed the app into “cellphone” format so it indicates up as a smaller, vertically oriented window It is clean for quickly queuing up a playlist.
That telephone format comes in accessible for messaging apps like Hangouts and Fb Messenger as well. They may be smooth to Maintain inside the heritage At the same time as doing work in extra-immersive apps and pop to the front when you want them. New messages pop into the Chrome OS notification center just as you’ll count on.