Android apps, Google Play store now on Chromebooks for first time

Google Play and Android apps have officially arrived on the first Chromebooks with the rollout of Chrome OS 53 to the developer channel.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Google is updating its list of Chromebooks that can run Android apps.

Image: Google

Google has rolled out Chrome OS 53 to the developer channel, bringing for the first time Google Play and all its 1.5 million Android apps to Chromebooks.

The first users to benefit from the rollout of Chrome OS 53 are owners of the ASUS Chromebook Flip, who now have access to Google Play. As noted by 9to5Google, reactions among Flip owners on Reddit have so far been generally positive.

Google announced in May that Android apps and Google would be coming to Chromebooks this year, starting with touchscreen devices, including the Flip, the Acer Chromebook R 11 and 2015 Chromebook Pixel, before expanding to other Chromebooks.

Google is updating its list of Chromebooks that can run Android apps, as it expands the program.

The addition of Android apps to Chromebooks should make the devices more appealing to those who want more offline capabilities, as well as giving users access to the more familiar Google Play, instead of only the Chrome Web Store.

While Google has previously experimented with bringing Android apps to Chromebooks, this new push may spell trouble for Windows PCs.

Chromebooks are popular at schools, but less so in the enterprise and, ironically, Microsoft's recent investments in Office for Android could boost the Chromebook's appeal to this group.

As ZDNet Linux specialist Steven J Vaughan-Nichols recently highlighted, those Office apps become much more useful on a Chromebook than on a phone or tablet.

Additionally, soon Chromebooks may have more apps that run locally on the device than Windows desktops.

But for now, with Android apps for Chrome OS is in the unstable developer channel. It will be about another six weeks before it reaches the more stable beta.

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