It is no secret that Google’s Pixelbook will be released to the public on October 31st, just a scant 17 days from now. It is also no secret that this device will be the torch-bearer for many new features and will be the driving force behind much more large-screen Android app adoption.
What we’re seeing right now across many Chromebooks is a sign of things to come. As the Pixelbook develops a feature, so will many (if not all) in the Chrome OS ecosystem.
First of these many updates and changes is the removal of “Beta” from the Play Store in Chrome OS 61.
Many of you have been here for the entirety of the ride. Going all the way back to Chrome OS 53 in June of last year, we’ve had a long road to get to the non-Beta version of Play Store on Chromebooks.
All things considered, to be doing what Google is doing with Android apps running quite well in many Chromebooks is pretty astounding. Sure, there are still quirks here and there and many of the user experiences will depend on the app developers, but the fact that I just created a video with Google Photos, checked Google Analytics/Adsense, have my background music playing in Google Play music and used Squid to jot down a quick to-do list just helps reinforce how useful Android apps on my Chromebook can be.
15 months to go from arrival to a fairly-stable experience is no small feat. Sure it seemed like a long time for those of us tracking every move, but melding two operating systems like this has opened the door for things like the Pixelbook and possibilities I don’t think we’ve quite considered yet.
That’s all for a later time. For now, we can just relish in the fact that the Beta label is falling away.
What Does That Mean For You?
Honestly, from a user experience, not much versus what you had before. We’re seeing reports of Android apps behaving more smoothly and nimbly. Placebo? Could be.
Mainly, the removal of Beta signals the arrival of a stable product that Google feels enough bugs have been removed from to include it as a standard feature for Chromebooks.
Hopefully, this is also a clear sign for developers who may have been sitting back and waiting to see if Google would get this whole thing across the finish line. If I’m an app developer, I’m not wasting any of my time worrying about a large-screen Android experience until I know it is something that is sticking around for the long haul on Chromebooks.
Now that we’re finally leaving the Beta stage, perhaps developers will be more and more encouraged to make their app experiences more compelling on the big screens. Proper resizing and better use of extra space will be tops on that list. We’re already seeing it start, but there’s a long way to go. Here’s hoping the exit from Beta is the beginning of the next maturation phase of Android Apps on Chromebooks.