29 Aug Chrome OS 53 Brings Android Apps to Chromebooks
The long-awaited release of Google Play store access for Chromebooks has finally arrived, starting with the Asus Chromebook Flip.
The two biggest consumer objections to buying Chromebooks are quickly disappearing. While Chromebooks are ideal for classrooms where students only need educational apps, the average computer user craves full access to a never-ending supply of new apps for gaming, multitasking, business and everything else you can imagine. Many adults are also turned off by the limited functionality when an Internet connection isn’t available, but making Chromebooks compatible with Android apps offers a solution to both problems.
With the release of Chrome OS 53, the Chromebook Flip is the first model to receive Android support. For now, this feature is only open on the developer channel, but as Google continues its rollout for the rest of 2016, expect to see Android apps become widely available to the public on more Chromebook devices.
What Android Support Means for Chromebook Users
The Google Play store currently offers about 1.5 million apps, and it’s growing every day. Android smartphone users have more apps than they are every likely to need, and opening this massive collection to Chromebooks gives users a virtually unlimited range of apps for customizing their computing experience. When you consider that the cheapest Chromebook is about $150, this update could bring low-cost computing to a whole new market of home and enterprise users who would normally have to budget for a higher cost laptop while paying for product features they don’t actually use.
It’s true that entry-level laptops are in budget for many Americans, but they typically cost about $300 to $400 more while satisfying the same basic needs: browsing, email, word processing, minor gaming and media streaming. The same holds true for tablets, which are useful for the clumsy hands of small children, but lack the work-oriented feel of a laptop or netbook.
Small and medium-size businesses are sure to take notice of Chromebooks now that Android apps will enable them to use popular productivity and communication tools, such as the Microsoft Office Suite and Skype. To put it simply, Android apps bridge what little gap remains between Chromebooks and low-cost laptops, helping Google reach markets it’s been chasing for the last few years.
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