We’re only about a week away from Google I/O, Google’s massive developer conference that takes place in May each year. Last year, Google made the announcement that they would be bringing Android apps to Chromebooks and, though they’ve been slower to deploy than they hoped, we are reaching the end of the development period.
It won’t be much longer before Android apps on Chromebooks is just a normal, daily thing. We won’t be wondering which device does or does not have Android or when 7.1.1 is coming. It will just be an expected feature in Chromebooks.
As that time approaches, Google needs to give developers all the tools necessary to implement the proper function on Chromebooks. A few years ago, this would have been a session aimed at tablets, but we’ve seen how Android tablets have fared.
Android on the big screen is now aimed at Chromebooks, but it needs apps tailored to those larger displays. It needs apps made to function with a physical keyboard and mouse. There may not have been much reason for devs to care about that in the past.
However, as Chromebooks grow in popularity in the consumer market and continue their dominance in the education sector, a whole new audience for Android apps is waiting for great app experiences on big screens with keyboards and trackpads.
Enter Google’s I/O Session
As you can see from the session descriptor, Google feels there is an underserved market ready to emerge and developers can be positioned to take full advantage.
Play Store on Chromebooks is a game-changer for how Android apps are expected to behave on large screens and desktop form factors. This session aims to provide Android app developers information, guidance, and examples on how to improve and optimize their app on Chromebooks. Doing so will lead to successfully tapping into a new market, being one of the early adopters, and the opportunity to lead and influence the ecosystem in setting the standard for apps on larger screens. Specific topics are around improving an app’s ability to provide better window management and implement different hardware inputs (trackpad, mouse, keyboard, and stylus) as frequently used with larger screen devices.
– Android apps for Chromebooks and large screen devices
Our hopes are high that I/O will feature and talk about Android and Chromebooks quite a bit this year. This session also helps to push along the idea I wrote about last week that I/O, Chrome OS 59, Android 7.1.1, and the Samsung Chromebook Pro delay may all be pointing to an end of Beta status for Android on Chromebooks. With the above-mentioned session hitting on window management, I’d say we’ll at least see Android 7.1.1 start showing up in a handful of Chromebooks soon. After all, if devs are provided info at I/O and no ability to work with that info, that wouldn’t make a ton of sense.
It looks like the next 45 days could be very interesting, indeed. Be sure to keep up with all things I/O 2017 here at Chrome Unboxed, and as always, we’ll keep you posted as this develops.