PWAs being delivered in the Play Store for Chromebooks are few and far between at this point. This entire thing is a new effort that hasn’t fully been rolled out quite yet, but is on the way soon for more and more app developers. This effort sees Progressive Web Apps delivered seamlessly to Chromebooks via the Google Play Store and from the looks of the early examples (Twitter and YouTube TV are handled this way on Chrome OS), the end result of this hybrid app delivery is very impressive.
We’ve talked about all this in a previous post, so I won’t rehash all of that. What you need to know is Google is citing some impressive growth numbers for PWA installs over the course of 2020 and that should mean we’re likely to see more and more PWA support as we move through 2021. According to a post over at the Chrome OS Developer hub, PWA adoption is up 175% year-over-year in 2020 as more and more users are leveraging web apps on their phones, Chromebooks and Windows devices.
New features are coming
A big, missing feature for PWAs is the ability for developers to introduce in-app purchases through the Play Store the same way native Android apps can. App developers will be able to leverage the new Digital Goods API with Google Play via tests behind a flag in Chrome OS 88 and with a full launch in Chrome OS 89 (slated for a March release). These additional APIs will allow things like in-app payments and subscriptions with a single click while delivering the same experience for end users that they are familiar with from Google Play’s billing flow. That also includes the ability for the user to save credits and payment info.
Between the increased visibility in the Play Store and the ability to leverage the same in-app payments and subscirptions as their native Android cousins, PWAs are quickly becoming full-fledged applications that are not only seeing an uptick in adoption, but pretty substantial increase in functionality as well. We’re incredibly excited by these upcoming changes and can’t wait to see how PWA growth continues into 2021 for not only Chromebooks, but Windows and Android as well. For so many applications, the lightweight, always-up-to-date PWA is a great one-app-for-all solution that we feel is going to continue becoming a bigger player in the overall application space as the next year progresses.