The Chromebook Pro was meant to be a grand coming-out celebration for Android apps using on Chrome OS. The Samsung device would uncover Google’s ability to not only browbeat a preparation space with web apps, though mislay a “native app” emanate for anybody that was holding out. But a underline has been stuck in a cart beta for months and a device itself was delayed. Not great.
We entirely approaching an refurbish this year during Google I/O, and now we have one. Although Google chose not to contend anything adult on a large stage, there is good news, bad news, and potentially unequivocally sparkling news to share. “I don’t wish to overpromise,” says Kan Liu, comparison executive of product government for Chrome OS. But he says shortly Google will be prepared to flog off a splashy product launch we were ostensible to have progressing this year.
First, a good news: Google expects a Chromebook Pro to be expelled on May 28th, finish with support for Android apps using on a Nougat platform. That will meant they’ll entirely support window resizing, advancing to a side of a screen, and split-view. “It will be a initial time that we’re shipping this new version,” says Liu.
Now, a sparkling news: Liu skeleton to start releasing some Android facilities on Chrome OS before they arrive on phones. “Dessert releases tend to have a yearly recover cycle,” says Liu. And that’s not quick adequate for what he wants to do on Chrome OS. “We indeed wish to decouple ourselves from that. Because Chromebooks have a six-week recover cycle.”
That will meant that some Android facilities from O — like softened keyboard shortcuts — will start operative on apps using on Chrome OS good before they arrive on phones. “For things that creates clarity on this form-factor — APIs and facilities that we consider are critical for a users — we’re going to be pulling things in whenever it’s ready,” says Liu.
But of course, there’s bad news: Android apps on Chrome OS will still technically be in Beta when a Chromebook Pro launches.
Essentially, Liu believes that Android apps on Chrome OS are “80 percent” prepared for many users. Right now, he thinks a ideal use box for Android on Chromebooks is for people who need only that one app — like Skype or a sold game. Even in beta, he argues, Android apps are prepared for that kind of user. He says there are some-more “guardrails” that safeguard that Android apps that design to be run on phones work improved on incomparable Chromebook screens. More of them will default to phone view, for example.
But Liu wants to capacitate a good knowledge for people who wish to do some-more than only use an Android app on a side now and then, so he’s pushing his group to finish polishing adult those “power user” cases involving separate shade apps, resizing, and a other Android Nougat facilities we’ve been watchful for. It’s only holding longer than Google creatively promised. “The initial 80 percent is 20 percent of a work, a final 20 percent is 80 percent of a work,” says Liu.
So while a Chromebook Pro will have those improved features, it will take a few of those six-week recover cycles before it will be prepared to exit beta and get pushed out in a bigger way. Liu puts is this way: “When we do get it right, a goal is to go big.”
The routine to get here hasn’t been easy, in partial since a charge is nowhere nearby as elementary as we competence expect. The Chromebook Pro hardware itself indispensable to be redesigned. Issues with a thermals and antennas meant some things had to get shifted around. Google itself handles a program stack, so it indispensable to tweak that program as Samsung tweaked a hardware.
That program work was only for a Pro, though Google also indispensable to do many some-more than we competence comprehend to get Android apps operative opposite any Chromebook. Without removing too technical, there isn’t only a window with an Android emulator inside Chrome OS — instead it’s some-more firmly integrated with a whole system. But Android apps targeted to different, comparison versions of Android competence act badly when they get put on a large screen. Google even feels it required to support all sorts of unequivocally aged apps (going behind to Android Donut, a 2009 release!) so that it can cover “edge cases and dilemma cases” that users competence have.
But even when Google finally does “go big” and take Android apps out of beta, a association isn’t going to try to get users to desert web apps. Even when Android apps are operative better, many of them simply aren’t going to demeanour good on a large screen. Some will still default to a phone distance and Google will cocktail adult a warning to users to resize them. Others simply only can’t contest with web versions of a same. “I don’t ever design anybody to use a Android chronicle of Facebook on this,” says Liu. “Because a web chronicle is many better.”
Liu says that it was “not a prophesy during all” to have users dump web apps for Android apps on Chrome OS wholesale. They’re still mostly meant to be things that fill in gaps that web apps can’t fill: like games, downloading Netflix movies, and those uncanny corner cases. Right now, half of a tip 10 many used Android apps on Chromebooks are games.
In a end, a story of Android apps on Chrome OS is a same story of scarcely each other Google product we’ve listened about this year during Google I/O. Coming soon, though a unequivocally large changes will occur after this year. Google is peaceful to recover half-developed versions of a products to a users so they can try them out. And it’s satisfactory to call those things half-baked since that’s literally what they are, half-done.
Or in a box of Android on Chrome OS, 80 percent done. They pivotal is finishing that final 20 percent, and Chrome OS is a large adequate understanding now that Google can’t leave a pivotal underline in beta forever.
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