Android apps are just what Chromebooks needed – The Verge

5 months ago Comments Off on Android apps are just what Chromebooks needed – The Verge

That the apps were fast shouldn’t be a surprise, as the Chromebook Pixel 2 is a very powerful (and very expensive) computer. But Kan Liu, senior director of product management for Chrome OS, assures me that they will run well on virtually any Chromebook you can imagine.

At the very beginning, developers will need to have a Chromebook Pixel 2, ASUS Chromebook Flip, or Acer Chromebook R11 to test Android apps on Chrome OS. Over time, Liu says that Google will add compatibility for the vast majority of Chrome OS devices — including both Intel and ARM-based devices. The version of Android that’s getting baked into Chrome OS will be the coming version, Android N (though the version I tried was using Android M).

Liu says that even on low-end Chromebooks, Android apps will run well — because most of them are designed with the wide array of Android phones in mind. Some Android phones have extremely limited processor and RAM resources, and even the cheapest Chromebooks still have more horsepower than many of the Android phones currently in use.

There are lots of reasons I was so impressed by how well everything worked. First, Android is smartly and intelligently integrated directly into Chrome. Apps show up as fully independent, separate, resizeable windows, instead of inside some weird Android zone. Their notifications appear inside Chrome OS’s own notifications area. Heck, even more complex Android things like Facebook Messenger’s floating “Chat Heads” show up exactly as you’d expect.

For example, I was able to edit a local photo using Photoshop Mix, save it, then insert it into a document with Microsoft Word. They were all Android apps, and it would have worked just as well if the Wi-Fi had been off. I played a relatively graphics-intensive game, Galaxy on Fire 2 HD, using the controls on the Pixel 2’s touchscreen — and if developers want, they can add support for keyboard controls. I Alt-Tabbed seamlessly between Android apps and Chrome OS Chrome browser windows.

Maybe the best example of the tight integration between Android and Chrome OS that I saw is the “share intent” feature. On Android, most apps have a “share” button that pops up a list of apps you can send a link or a photo to. On Chrome OS, hitting that button on an Android App brings up a Chrome OS dialog box, where you will get your list of apps — including the Android Gmail app.

Android apps are just what Chromebooks needed – The Verge