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Google Takes First Steps Toward Android Development on Chrome OS

January 23, 2015 - Written By Greg Bernard

Up until this point, Android developers have been required to use third-party operating systems such as Windows and Mac OS to develop their apps. However, an issue posted on the Google Code site reveals that Google developers may be preparing to allow Android Development on Google’s native operating system, Chrome OS. The site reveals that the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) and the recovery and flashing tools normally unavailable on Google’s own operating system are now being worked on for Chrome OS. These tools are what usually allow data to be sent between the computer and phone, and for software and/or firmware to be installed to the device connected via USB. Developers will be able to access this feature through the chrome shell.

News of the development came through a Google developer’s reply to a previous bug report on an ADB issue. Accessibility and support for Chrome OS would be much welcome to developers. Last year, Google announced that it would begin supporting the development of apps that would run on both Chrome OS and Android. Several Android apps were released for Chrome OS, with the promise of more to come. There were also several methods developed for users to convert any Android app for use with Chrome, to varying degrees of success. One hack allowed almost any app to run on a Chromebook. These methods relied on the developing “Android Runtime for Chrome.” Google is making a gradual movement towards uniformity in its operating systems.

Currently, developers using Chrome OS as their primary operating system are forced to turn to either Windows, Mac OS, or Linux in order to carry out Android development. It is possible to dual-boot a Chromebook to run Android development platforms “Eclipse” and “Android Studio” on Windows or Linux, or to run a separate version of Linux on the same kernel via the “Crouton” Chrome extension though do technically using this method one would be able to develop using a Chromebook. Late last year, the beta flag was lifted from Google’s “Android Studio” project, which is available on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. Considering that Chrome OS already runs on a Linux kernel, it doesn’t seem far-fetched to foresee the development of a complete native solution for Android development.