What a difference three years can make. In 2016, Google announced the addition of Android Apps to Chrome OS. While the path has been a long, frustrating one for many users, Google has doubled down on their once-fledgling desktop OS by continuing to encourage developers to create apps with Chromebooks and larger screens in mind.
Fast forward to Google I/O 2019, and Android apps may not have had the impact some expected but the effect on the Chrome OS ecosystem as a whole is much larger than what we see on the surface.
Throughout multiple sessions, developers spoke of Chrome OS as the total solution for security and usability. With the advent of officially supported Linux apps on Chromebooks, the day is coming that we will be hard pressed to find something Chrome OS won’t do.
The Crostini project that brought us Linux apps is still a work in progress but Google is much more outspoken about it than Android apps which is a good indicator they intend to remain committed to Chrome OS and making it the OS for developers and masses alike.
Currently, Google reports Linux app capability on more than 50% of the devices on the market with the majority being Chromebooks and Boxes produced in the past two years. (Sorry ASUS C302, Sammy Pro and HP 13 G1. It isn’t looking good.)
That percentage is about to grow at an accelerated pace as Google slid in the news that all Chrome devices released this year will come with Linux support out of the box. Intel, ARM and AMD machines will be able to run Debian apps and with a little tinkering, can even spin up alternative distros.
This opens up a whole new world of opportunities for Chrome OS and we believe that Google’s intent is to have Chrome OS become the herald for the computing future. Not so much based on Chrome OS’ merits but more so the vast capabilities that come with a device running three operating systems that offer industry-leading security.
There’s a lot more to cover from Google I/O and we’ll be breaking it down piece by piece throughout the week. Stay tuned for more and don’t forget to check out the latest episode of The Chrome Cast for our I/O roundup.