During Google’s I/O 2014 Keynote, the Search Giant had a lot to show off with Android L, Android TV, Android Wear, Android Auto – do we need to go on? That wasn’t all though, as they had a little time to detail some new stuff coming to Chrome OS, Sundar Pichai’s first love. First of all, there are now 8 OEM partners delivering devices in 28 countries and K-12 education in the US has seen a massive adoption of Chrome OS. Chromebooks are about to talk much more closely with your Android smartphone. On stage, Pichai demoed some interesting new features, many of which we’re assuming will launch when Android L does late on in the Fall. The most immediate new feature is the contextually aware side of Android L, which will allow your Chromebook to unlock when it knows your phone is nearby, as well as easily log you into your favorite apps.
Speaking of apps, Pichai demoed Android apps running on Chrome OS, natively. The words used by Sundar were “ported to Chrome OS”, which suggests that the code from the Android apps are running directly on the Chromebook. Which would make a lot of sense, considering that these apps have access to the device’s hardware. The Vine app was demoed with access to a Chromebook Pixel’s camera. Other apps that were shown off on stage included Evernote and Flipboard. Again, I’m assuming this update won’t be hitting Chrome OS until Android L, and the complete change to ART comes along, after all there’s very little point in porting the Dalvik VM to Chrome OS if it’s soon going to become obsolete.
Fans of Pushbullet will tell you just how useful it can be to get texts and phone calls on your Chromebook or your PC. On stage, Pichai detailed upcoming changes built into Chrome OS and Android that will replicate such a feature. With text messages and incoming calls hitting your Chromebook, with notifications for when your device is low on battery as well. We’re sure there’s even tighter integration between Chrome and Android coming soon, but what Google announced on stage will certainly please Chromebook owners all over the world.