As of late we have been tracking a lot of movement in the area of Chrome OS running as a virtual machine. While I am sure there will be multiple applications for an emulated version of Chrome OS, yesterday’s I/O developer session revealed one particular use that is coming very soon.
Likely, the majority of developers of Android Apps have some sort of device with which to test their product. Less likely are the odds that the hundreds of thousands of app developers all have Chromebooks to use when optimizing their apps for Chrome OS and large screen devices.
Lead tech Stefan Kuhne ran down the key points for developers to ensure their apps are working at their optimal performance when running on Chrome OS. Most apps will work fine on larger screens but developers are encouraged to optimize them for “huge screens” by moving to API level 24 or later.
Additional optimizations include allowing and testing apps ability to resize properly as well as leveraging keyboard shortcuts and navigation for the desktop user.
All of these tweaks are great and they mean Android Apps will run better than ever on Chrome OS and other platforms. But, what’s the easiest way to test these features if you don’t have a Chromebook handy?
This is where the emulator comes in. For developers wanting to optimize apps for Chrome OS, early access is now available for the Chromebook Emulator Beta program. You will gain access to a virtual Chrome OS machine where you can run and test your applications on Chrome OS.
The emulator is still very much in the early stages and considered beta but Kuhne assured developers that Google was working was working diligently and it is under “heavy development.” To sign-up for early access you can fill out the form here.
There are a lot of methods out there to emulate other operating systems on Chrome OS but seeing Chromebooks make their way to the virtual desktop is a huge step for the whole ecosystem. Google is going above and beyond to encourage developers to make Android on Chrome OS better and better. Can’t wait to see what’s next.