Google may soon bring Chrome OS apps to iOS and Android

It’s always made sense for Google to have their presence everywhere, after all, at their heart they are a web services company. Their lightweight Chrome OS runs on cheap hardware (with the exception being the £1049 ‘Pixel’) and acts, for many, as simple devices for basic tasks.

Chrome OS’s apps are based on HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS – but can be used offline. Starting in January; it appears these current desktop-exclusive applications will be made available on mobile.

As found by The Next Web, a repository on GitHub - operated by Google developer Michal Mocny - hosts a toolkit for developers to adapt existing Chrome apps for mobile; as well as develop new, direct-to-mobile Chrome apps.

Google has been working on a compatibility layer based on the open source Apache Cordova tools; which essentially allow Chrome apps to make use of your computer’s hardware - such as the GPU. Of course the Chrome OS has very different APIs to those on mobile; but plug-ins allow for the replication and replacement of the relevant components.

When The Next Web asked Google developer advocate Joe Marini when the toolkit would be ready for a public testing, Marini replied, “We hope to have something in beta form in January.”

Developers can access the toolkit here if they wish and begin shifting these apps in preparation; but no official announcement by Google has been made yet.

At PhoneGap Day US 2013 earlier this year, Google software engineer Michal Mocny gave an entire presentation about porting Chrome apps to mobile as shown below.

The presence of Chrome OS apps amongst the vastness of iOS’s “App Store” and Android’s “Play Store” is sure to drum up the exposure and reach of its applications and ultimately attract more development interest in the platform – which some claim Windows should be scared of.

Microsoft ran a (factually incorrect) campaign which wants you to believe that you can't do anything with a Chromebook when you're offline. This simply isn’t true. In fact, in the campaign Microsoft specifically mentions Angry Birds as something you can’t download on Chrome OS… ahem.

What is true is you cannot run your high-end software and games; but with an increasing amount of capabilities available in the browser; certainly the majority of users wouldn’t need this kind of functionality. For a laptop starting at £179.99, that’s mightily tempting.

There are people who would argue you could simply go for a tablet, but for those who prefer a physical built-in keyboard, it’s a much-more practical option.

What do you think about Google’s plans to bring Chrome OS apps to mobile?

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