During the annual I/O developers’ conference (which took place on May 18 to 20), Google announced that the Google Play Store would become available in Chromebooks starting in June. This isn’t exactly news since there have been rumors going around that it would happen, but it’s the first time that the tech giant officially confirmed its plans.
Unfortunately, this update won’t become immediately available to all Chromebook models. Only three models will get the Google Play Store in the middle of June: the Asus Chromebook Flip, the Acer Chromebook R11 / C738T, and the 2015 model of the Google Chromebook Pixel.
Still, those who own other kinds of Chromebooks shouldn’t worry because the Google Play Store will be made available in other models in the coming months. Some of the units that will get the Play Store in the later part of 2016 include Acer’s Chromebook 11 C740, Asus’s Chromebook C200, HP’s Chromebook 11 G3, and Lenovo’s 100S Chromebook. You can find the full list here.
According to Google’s Chrome Blog, this move is precipitated by the fact that many Chromebooks users want to do more than just surfing the web on their devices. With the availability of the Google Play Store on Chromebooks, they will now have access to millions of apps that used to be available only to Android device owners. Now, Chromebook owners can easily use Office files, chat with friends and make calls on Skype, and play popular games like Minecraft and Clash of Clans.
Users don’t have to worry since the Google Play Store would be built on top of the Chrome OS, which means that they won’t lose any of the tools and software that they currently use. They also don’t have to worry about the performance of their device since Android apps will be able to run on Chromebooks without affecting its speed, security, and ease of use.
Developers will appreciate the fact that the Google Play Store for Chromebooks isn’t based on the App Runtime on Chrome (ARC), which Google had used a couple of years back to port some Android apps over to Chrome OS. Google decided to start from scratch this time around and create a model that’s easier to use. ARC required developers to do some serious work to ensure their apps would work well on Chrome OS but, with this new model, they don’t have to do anything but just publish their app on the Play Store.