Almost a year ago, Google revealed its plans to bring Android apps to Chromebooks. After months of waiting, the rollout has begun, albeit very slowly. Around 50 models of Chromebooks were supposed to get Android apps by the end of last year, but only a handful actually do – and it’s already April 2017.
The good news? Google has increased the size of the original list to more than 80 Chromebook devices. The bad news? Only six have access so far. According to Google’s list of Chrome OS systems supporting Android apps, there are four Samsung devices that will get Android apps – eventually: Chromebook Plus, Chromebook Pro, Chromebook 2, and Chromebook 3.
As you can see from the current list provided below, the majority of devices are tagged with a status of “Planned”, which is worrying because at least 50 of those have been on this list for a long time. The ones tagged “Stable Channel” already have access, but the ratings and comments from users are less than encouraging.
We know that Chrome OS 58 for Chromebooks is bringing Google Play Store into the Chrome OS ecosystem, but does that really address the majority of app compatibility problems?
Dave Burke, VP of Engineering, Google, announced recently that keyboard navigation is getting its fair share of attention on Android O. But that implies that apps have to be updated to the diktats of Android O before they can be used seamlessly on Chromebooks. How long is that going to take? Does that also mean Chrome OS 58 bringing Play Store to Chromebooks is actually less relevant to the Android apps on Chromebooks movement than Android O?
It’s clear that there are a lot of unanswered questions and even more unsatisfied Chromebooks users, and Google is doing nothing to help that by providing information in bits and pieces that you have to literally beach-comb Google’s blogs to get your hands on.
The real paradox here is that if you already have Android app access on your Chromebook, then you’re lucky. But “lucky” is relative here and used in a very loosely, because you will likely have app compatibility working against you at this point, rather than for you.
Google needs to figure out a way to send a wholesome and consistent message to its Chromebook user base – even if it means having to apologize for delays and setting new deadlines that they had better stick to.
The full list of Chromebooks, Chromeboxes and Chromebases that will “ultimately” have Android app access is provided below: