Google I/O 2016: Chrome OS to Support Android Apps and Play Store

Chromebooks are compact, light, and are great for use on the go – as long as you have a mobile hotspot for Chrome to use. They’re completely reliant on the Chrome browser for laptop functionality, using services like Google Drive to replace Office software and using websites rather than specialised apps. That may be about to change.

At the annual Google I/O conference, which was held in San Francisco this Wednesday, Google announced that the Play Store (the app store for Android devices) would soon be available on Chromebooks, running the Chrome OS, giving them access to hundreds of thousands of applications.

A quote from Google reads:

Today we announced that we’re adding the best mobile app experiences in the world, Android apps and the Google Play store, to the best browser in the world, Chrome! Come to this session and test your Android apps for Chrome OS. You will get hands on help from our friendly engineers on how to optimize your Android app for Chromebooks.”

Nobody really knows how this will work out. Some apps may need adjustments to work on Chrome OS, but most should be compatible by the time this change actually happens. We don’t have any details of when this will happen, either, but as it’s been hinted at since April last year, we’re hopeful it’ll be sooner rather than later.

We have heard rumours about an Android/Chrome hybrid, and we hope this will be the first step in that direction. While Google have claimed that Chrome OS isn’t going anywhere, adding Google Play and Android apps to it makes it seem more like an Android Desktop rather than plain old Chrome OS and that’ll mean we’ll see more support for larger Android tablets too.

This will be a great reason to buy a Chromebook. It’ll make existing Chromebooks far more powerful and give them much more functionality than they currently have. Apps like Instagram have functions unavailable on the web, and while Google certainly tried to make some Chrome compatible apps, they weren’t all that successful.

This will change, well, everything.