Google just took a big step to unite its two operating systems, Chrome and Android, and it’s great news for users.
The Android app store, Play, is coming to Chrome OS, the software that runs on its Chromebook laptops, Google announced at its IO developers’ conference on Thursday.
That means that Chromebooks will soon be able to run most of the 1.5 million Android apps out there.
The functionality will launch with three new Chromebooks this summer, with additional devices getting the functionality in the fall.
This move brings a lot more functionality to Google’s laptops. Demos on stage show how easy it will be to do something like edit a photo in Adobe’s Photoshop app with a bigger screen or have more control while playing a previously Android-only game like Clash of Clans.
“You can write your term paper and get your Snapchats all on the same device without ever having to take your phone out of your pocket,” a Chrome product manager said on stage.
It’s also a long time coming: Google promised that Android apps would be coming to Chromebooks way back in 2014.
Users will be able to just click on the Play Store icon on their Chromebook dock and search for apps exactly like they would on an Android.
- Jillian D’Onfro
It’s also good news for app developers, who will be able to reach more users in different ways. For example, a Google exec said on stage, people tend to be more likely to pay for apps they use on their computers, than on their smartphones. It won’t be without some effort though: most smartphone apps will look pretty lousy on the big screen of a Chromebook device, so developers will have to make some tweaks to their design.