For a while now, the Chrome OS team has listed the various Chromebooks that support Android apps on the Chrome OS Systems Supporting Android Apps page. To this point, the page listed the devices that would be seeing Android app support which has been through the developer and beta channels of Chrome OS. It is expected that the stable channel will see Chrome OS 56 this month and fully launch app support for everyone.
Over the weekend, the support page changed with a clear and important statement regarding future devices. Any Chromebook from 2017 onward will have Android app support. While this isn’t entirely unexpected, the news is good for those who are considering a Chromebook and it further solidifies the relationship between Google’s two platforms. While it appears unlikely we will see a merger of the two, it is clear their handshake relationship is supported and will remain so for the immediate future.
For those who aren’t 100% clear on what I’m referring to on this, it is pretty straight forward. Google and the Chrome OS team have been testing running Android apps, the same ones that run on
your phone, on Chromebooks. The idea is that instead of having to run a web app, you have an app installed on your device just like your phone. It makes working offline a bit easier and it gives you a wider range of apps that you can use. For sure, not all Android apps are going to be supported but that is likely going to change once the stable build of Chrome OS becomes available. That should be this month. Once your device supports Android apps, you install them just like you do on your phone as your Chrome OS powered laptop will show up as an install option in the Google Play Store.
For beta testers and developers, the ability to run Android apps has been in those two software channels for some time now so it can be tested as thoroughly as possible prior to release. That public release should happen before the end of the month.