Google's Chrome OS is about to become a little more interesting: The company is now accepting Android applications that will run as if they were native.
At last year's Google I/O developer event, Google introduced Android apps running on Chrome OS using an early beta of its Android App Runtime for Chrome (ARC). In September, the first four apps made the transition. Google slowly added a handful of Android apps for Chromebooks and Chromeboxes every few months since then but now, it appears ready for wider support.
While many have dismissed Chrome OS as "just a browser," the software is actually a framework that runs atop Linux. It also has native apps available to it through Google's Native Client technology so that you can run compiled C or C++ code in a browser-based environment. Relatively few app developers have taken advantage of this, however, leaving Chrome OS with far fewer applications than on competing platforms.
The addition of Android apps changes the equation though. I found this out when ARC beta first surfaced, using a tool to convert Skype for Android on my own Chromebook. The software has worked flawlessly for months and adds a very useful feature to my Chrome OS laptop.
Considering there are hundreds of millions of Android apps currently available, Google's App Runtime for Chrome beta has the potential to make Chrome OS devices more desirable, both for consumers and enterprises.