Chromebooks have become increasingly popular, especially in the education field, primarily due to their lower costs, decent build quality, and the fact that they work in conjunction with a variety of productivity tools and applications, most of which can be acquired for free. However, up until now, Chromebooks have relied on web applications as opposed to tapping into Google’s rich Android ecosystem, but the good news is that things are improving as we speak. At Google I/O earlier in May, Google confirmed its plans to add support for the Play Store in Chrome OS later in the year, and sure enough, numerous recent reports confirm that the Acer R11 and the Chromebook Pixel (2015) have now gained access to the Play Store following an update to Chrome OS version 53.
Chrome OS version 53 is now reportedly available for download on the Acer R11 and Chromebook Pixel Chromebooks, but as expected and not unlike the update’s previous release on the ASUS Chromebook Flip last month, Chrome OS 53 is currently acquirable only through the Developer Channel. As such, owners of one of the two aforementioned Chromebooks can now download the update and take advantage of Play Store applications by switching to the Developer Channel from the “About Chrome OS” screen within the device’s settings menu. However, as is the case with other builds launched through the Developer Channel, Chrome OS 53 is not yet fully polished and ready for the masses, and may still contain bugs. In fact, a handful of users has already provided feedback on the Chromebooks community group, informing other members and the developers of several issues including lack of gamepad support. However, users have also confirmed that most features seem to work as intended, including voice commands for the Google application. In any case, it should be noted that following Chrome OS 53, the Play Store sees Chromebooks as tablets, meaning that phone-only applications are not compatible.
At the end of the day, things seem to be going according to Google’s plans and initial promises. The search engine giant kept its word and released Chrome OS 53 on the ASUS Chromebook Flip, Acer R11, and the Chromebook Pixel (2015) within the June-July timeframe, which indicates that more Chromebooks could join the party and gain Play Store support in the coming months.