Google Android Apps Likely Headed To Chrome OS
Some users on Reddit has recently spotted that the developer version of Chrome OS has a new option to run Android apps on it. If this turns out to be true, then Chrome OS will soon become more interesting and desirable than before.
Redditor 'TheWiseYoda' found that that when the settings loaded on their Chromebook, an option to "Enable Android apps to run on your Chromebook" popped up. However, the option disappears quickly making it practically impossible to click on it.
When digging the source code, Mr. Yoda found a few strings in this file (starting at line 6522) that mention the arrival of Google Play on Chrome OS.
Particularly a message indicating that "over a million apps and games on Google Play" will soon be available on Chromebooks.
<message name="IDS_ARC_OPT_IN_DIALOG_DESCRIPTION" desc="Description of the opt-in dialog for Android apps.">
Choose from over a million apps and games on Google Play to install and use on your <ph name="DEVICE_TYPE">$1<ex>Chromebook</ex></ph>
The name of the message is "ARC_OPT_IN", which is likely a reference to the App Runtime for Chrome (ARC) project that the company has been working on for a while now. We first heard about ARC when rumors surfaced that Google is working on a project called the "App Runtime for Chrome (ARC)" to run Android apps on Chrome OS. Google worked with select developers to port a handful of Android apps and to perfect the Android runtime on Chrome OS.
Google ported Android apps including Vine, Evernote, and Duolingo to Chrome OS back in 2014 to a small group of developers. Later, Google expanded it as a Chrome app packager that allowed anyone to run their Android apps on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome OS. According to ArsTechnica, the "ARC_OPT_IN" option mentioned may indicate that the company may expand it to support the million-plus apps found in the Google Play Store on Chromebooks.
Administrators may also love the new checkbox approach to enable Android app support in Chrome OS, as this allows security conscious admins to stop users from installing apps from Play Store and stay with a bare-bones Chrome OS build. In addition, normal users can simply toggle the switch and install app from Play Store.
This also means Google will soon close down Chrome Store in favor for Play Store. However, it will turn out a huge blessing for users of Chromebooks and the Chrome OS platform as it would enable users to access a wealth of apps and extend the functionality of their devices. Google Play has more software, accepts payments in 136 countries, and has had better support than its Chrome OS cousin has over the past few years.
The discovery comes a month ahead of Google's annual I/O developer conference scheduled for May 18-20 at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View. While Google has not made any official statement, we may hear something about it in the I/O conference.