Tech

Google pushes developers to adapt Android apps for Chromebooks

Google Play Store on Chrome OS.
Enlarge / Google is putting more emphasis on Android apps on Chromebooks.

According to a blog post from Chrome OS product managers Fahd Imtiaz and Sanj Nathwani this week. The executives cited internal Google data recorded from 2020-2021.

In 2021, when some smartphones switch to Android 12, Google has been working to update Chromebooks to support Android 11, while also trying to boost security and performance by bringing Android on Chrome OS into a virtual machine, rather than a container. The company also improved its overall usability, using runtime enhancements to make resizing and scaling of Android apps on Chromebooks work better, as well as app rendering. .

As the developer-focused blog noted, Chromebooks on Chrome OS 93 or later (latest Chrome OS 96) automatically run Android mobile apps in a window set to “phone or tablet orientation”. And, yes, you can turn this off.

Additionally, Imtiaz and Nathwani point to Android’s Nearby Sharing feature coming to Chrome 96 apps for Android 11 and Android 9 as another way to try to get developers to work for their apps. They are suitable for devices with larger screens.

Google wants this to be a priority for developers

In May, Google report 10-year-old operating system (OS) adoption rates increased 92% year-over-year, reportedly “five times the rate of the PC market”. At the time, Patrick Fuentes, Chrome OS’s director of developer relations engineering, said that made Chrome OS “the second most popular and fastest growing desktop operating system. ”

It’s clear that the operating system is relying on Android apps to help continue that growth. In fact, this week’s blog asserts that “no doubt adapting to larger screens will be a priority for developers in 2022.”

The blog highlighted new ways to create new apps that take advantage of Android on Chromebooks, such as Jetpack Compose 1.0, a user interface toolkit, and Android Studio Chipmunk, a layout validation tool, to help with work. create adaptive layouts that work more easily across different types of devices, from phones to desktops.

Google also highlighted Chrome OS’s support for the Unity game engine to make Android games as advanced as RPGs.

“With Unity 2021, 2020 and 2019 LTS, you can support both x86 and x86_64-based Chrome OS devices using your IDE to reduce code duplication and streamline publishing,” the blog post said.

Going forward, tweaks to Chrome OS could finally make Android’s presence on Chromebooks more seamless. A commit on Chromium Gerrit discovered earlier this month shows what Google is working towards make Chromebooks less slow at startup by temporarily throttling the Android Runtime for the Chrome Virtual Machine at login, when it is said to be able to consume up to 300 percent of processor resources in a matter of minutes.

Android 12L Preview.
Enlarge / Android 12L Preview.

Google

And look further, Android 12L Currently in developer preview. As detailed in October, the operating system is being marketed as being optimized for screens larger than those found on smartphones, so the Chromebook’s angle is inherent.

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2021/12/android-app-usage-on-chromebooks-grew-sharply-this-year/ Google pushes developers to adapt Android apps for Chromebooks

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