Chromebooks now run Android apps without porting

Android is everywhere; whether it's your phone, your tablet, your console, or even your fridge. Where it hasn't been, at least without third-party software such as BlueStacks, is your PC. Back in June, Google promised it would be bringing support (finally!) for Android apps on Chromebooks.

On Thursday, the web giant made good on its promise and launched the first set of these apps for Chrome OS. These initial apps included; Duolingo, Evernote, children's reading app Sight Words, and Twitter's Vine. It marks a good step in the right direction, but more will need to make the jump if Chrome OS wants the kind of large numbers of apps which are available for Windows and Mac.

"Chromebooks were designed to keep up with you on the go — they're thin and light, have long battery lives, resume instantly, and are easy to use," Googlers Ken Mixter and Josh Woodward wrote in a blog post Thursday. "Today, we're making Chromebooks even more mobile."

Duolingo is a free language app to help users learn a variety of languages including Spanish, French, German, Portugese, Italian, and English. Evernote likely needs little introduction, but its Chromebook app will let you keep your digital life in order through notes that stay synced across devices. Sight Words helps children to improve their reading skills, and Vine is the app used to post the short, looping videos you see plastered everywhere.

In order for Android apps to work on Chrome OS, no porting is necessary. The app code, written using standard Android APIs, runs in the same environment as apps downloaded from the Chrome Web Store. Some developers may prefer to optimise their applications for use on Chromebooks, however.

On the user-facing front, Android apps are downloaded from the Chrome Web Store and just show up in the launcher as if any other Chrome app. "We won't be able to support every Android app from day one, but your feedback will help us focus on the Android apps that you'd use most on Chrome OS," Google said.

Will you be supporting Android apps on Chrome OS? Let us know in the comments.

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23 Mar 2015, 11:38 a.m.

Yes. please. But more than anything else I want Chromebook to be able to run PIcasa, so that I can do basic things with photos stored on the Chromebook before moving them onto PicasaWeb.