Today on the ChromeOS.dev blog, Google has revealed that on Chromebooks alone, 50% more users have engaged with Android apps year over year. When you consider the state of them since the Google Play Store was added to Chrome OS years ago, that would be kind of unbelievable, but then you have to take into account all of the things that the company has done to attempt to improve them since.
For example, the mere existence of the ChromeOS.dev website where Google provides tools and knowledge for developers to create larger screen experiences with better mouse, keyboard, and even gamepad input is a testament to its efforts to push for Chromebooks to be considered while apps and games are being created.
As a result, Chrome OS has grown 92% in the past year, which places it as the number one OS in terms of growth in the marketplace! From games that adapt to different devices automatically to styli that make it feel like you’re writing on paper while drawing on your screen, here are some of the milestones the company has shared regarding its growth and determination for Chrome OS:
Android 11 rollout – Support for one of the latest operating systems has been slowly rolling out to Chrome OS and includes better app resizing, scaling, and rendering allowing developers to create more stable, secure, and high-performing user experiences. Android also moved from a container to a virtual machine!
Improved window management – Android apps now have app scaling presets for “phone”, “tablet” and “resizable” to maintain their stability while allowing users to scale them to their needs. Most apps implement this by default right through the Play Store without the developer needing to code anything extra in, meaning that Chromebook owners can benefit from it across the board where available instead of having to ask creators to add it in per experience.
Nearby Share now works with Android apps and not just web apps on Chromebooks! This means that any time you have a link or piece of content you’d like to share with someone and you’re using an Android app, you can just share it as you would from your phone. The experience shouldn’t be disjointed like it’s been over the years, so finally having this feature parity is fantastic.
Google also discussed other improvements for Android apps to the toolkit like low-latency stylus libraries, x86 support with Unity so you can play more Unity games natively on Chrome OS with traditional computer inputs, and more. Just seeing that twice as many people are gaining confidence in Android apps as a viable solution to software experiences on Chromebooks even in the face of progressive web apps rising to popularity this year is encouraging as it means that this incredible app store that was awkwardly grafted in may one day feel like a natural inclusion on all levels that’s at home with the other features native to Chrome OS.