More Chromebooks Gaining Pre-Release Android App Support

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One of the biggest developments for the Chrome OS platform and in particular Chromebooks is that the platform is gaining support for the Google Play Store and ultimately to the library of over a million Android applications. Google have worked in support for these applications into the Chromebook platform, which could greatly enhance how productive and useful the Chromebook will be for customers. Over time, it will increase the potential market for applications released into the Google Play Store and we can expect some software developers to release applications that are already optimized for the Chromebook platform as well as Android. It may also encourage developers to optimize Android applications for large screen devices, which should also ultimately benefit the Android tablet market.

Three Chromebook models have had support for running Android applications available via the Google Play Store since June, these being the ARM-powered ASUS Chromebook Flip, which also includes a touchscreen. The other two models are powered by Intel chipsets and also contain a touchscreen, the Acer Chromebook R11 and Google Chromebook Pixel. Google has provided access to the Google Play Store for a number of models but considers running Android applications very much as a beta. The company has promised Play Store support for "dozens" of Chromebooks in the fullness of time. However, Google has released a software update for the Chromebook Canary channel that allows Play Store use for a number of new devices. The Canary channel is designed for customers to try new up-and-coming features, designed for testing purposes only, and we would caution readers that this channel can contain many bugs, issues, instabilities – it is earlier in the development cycle than the Development channel, which itself is before the Beta channel and some way removed from the Stable channel versions of Chrome OS. The new models include the Acer Chromebook 14, Acer Chromebook 15, Samsung Chromebook 3 and Toshiba Chromebook 2 (2015).

Google's Play Store ambition for the Chromebook platform is rolling on: there is still some way to go, but the number of devices for testing has now more than doubled and includes ARM and Intel powered hardware with and without a touchscreen. We did not hear any news about Google's Chromebook and Chrome OS plans, or anything about the rumored hybrid operating system between Android and Chrome OS, but there is some reassurance that the Android app on the Chromebook platform plan is progressing.

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