The news that Google Play Store could now be on its way to our PC’s is huge. Android apps coming to your nearby computer is just awesome. But before you get carried away, first of, understand that the news is still at the stage of probability and secondly, the Android apps would can be launched only on Chromebook and computers with the Chrome OS already installed.
The news emanated from the social forum reddit. Some users of Chromebook who have reddit accounts reported some weird stuff on their Chromebooks. A reddit user with the moniker ‘TheWiseYoda‘ wrote that after clicking the settings button on his Chromebook, this message appeared, ‘Enable androids apps to run on your Chromebook.’ The message did not stay long enough to click on the box to enable it.
Using a second generation Chromebook, a tech website Ars Technica were able to confirm there is indeed such a notification in Chromebook settings. For now, Android apps on Chrome OS must be at the drawing board stage. But the fact that the code is already in Chromebook indicates that Google is serious about bringing Androids apps to Chrome OS computers.
This move reminds me of what Microsoft is trying to do with Windows 10: building an integrated ecosystem where all devices using Windows 10 can connect and function seamlessly inside the windows 10 environment. If Android apps come to Chromebook, the impact would be enormous especially for people using Android devices.
For now, those who wish to run Android apps on their computers have to install Android emulators like Bluestacks and GenyMotion. These emulators can be problematic to run as they can slow down your system. But an in-built Android emulator in Chromebook now means people can install and run all the millions of apps found on Play Store. I foresee the Chrome OS taking over from Windows OS as the premier operating system on PCs if this actually happens. An Android emulator on PC practically means you can now easily play your favorite Candy Crush on a much larger screen.
However there is nothing novel about having Android apps on PCs running the Chrome OS. The first time an initiative like this was tried was two years ago in September 2014. Google then introduced a beta version of what it called ‘App Runtime for Chrome’ (ARC). The software enabled certain Android apps to run on Chrome OS. The software was only made available to some developers to test at that time. The full potential of ARC really meant that the software can allow Android apps to work on any platform (whether Windows OS, Linux, or Mac) except iOS.
These recent news then looks as if Google is done with the testing and development of ARC and is now set to launch the software on Chrome OS. And here is the thing. If Google Play Store arrives on Chrome OS, what then happens to the Chrome Web Store? Because, lets face it, Play Store is a million times better than Chrome Web Store. How many people even know or use Chrome Web Store? So what would be the point of keeping a relic like Chrome Web Store when Play Store is just a click away?
There is no word yet from Google about this issue. Maybe they are waiting for next month’s Google I/O to make this important development official and public. My fingers are crossed.
photo credits: youtube.com; trendblog.net