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We asked developers what they think about Android apps on Chrome OS

Derek Walter | June 17, 2016
While bringing the Play Store to Chromebooks presents a lot of opportunity, in some ways it means heading back to the drawing board.

She particularly cited Material Design as a tool that can serve as a guide when deciding how Android apps will scale from smartphones to Chromebook screens.

“I don’t think we’ve even grasped what the benefits of Material Design are yet as a visual language. Google isn’t just thinking about mobile, it’s how things will display on different devices; the car, your television screen, and throughout many different scenarios. It’s one area where Android has a leg up on iOS because as Android developers we’ve already had to deal with these multiple screen sizes.”

Virginia Poltrack

Virginia Poltrack is generally focused on the world of Android Wear, though she has worked on more traditional apps as well. She’s interested in what Google’s decision could mean for watch faces and other interactive elements, such as transporting them to Chrome OS as some type of live widget.

Virginia Poltrack is an epic Android Wear watch face designer. Credit: Merhaba Glass

“For Android Wear specifically, I have had to think and design in terms of limited real estate and making things glanceable, but on a Chromebook, there will be so much more room to work with! However, Google has been great in terms of providing examples and best practices, so I’m sure there will be valuable resources for designers and developers to reference! I look forward to getting more information about how to integrate this.”

Ana Redmond

Ana Redmond is the type of developer that Android needs more of. She’s laser focused on education apps, building Kindergarten Math for Schools as part of her small company, Infinit.  She wanted to focus on Android apps for schools, but found it difficult to partner with educational institutions given the high installation rate of iPads.

ana redmind 
Ana Redmond develops education apps for her Seattle-based company. Credit: LinkedIn

Though there were plenty of Chromebooks, with the trend only on the rise. Building an Android app suddenly makes a lot more sense, as long as Google’s pledges that it will “just work” come through.

“It means a lot of things to think about, like how to make elements big enough so even on a small device you can drag them with either one’s finger or the proper size to use with a mouse and trackpad on a Chromebook. Most of the Chromebooks we’ve worked with don’t have a touch screen, but many schools are buying the newer devices and are buying ones with touch screens,” she said.

Any developers who want to try out Android apps on Chrome will be able to use the Asus Chromebook Flip, the newest Chromebook Pixel, and Acer Chromebook R11 starting in June.

It’s going to be a transformative time for Android developers, who have a vast opportunity and a lot of work ahead of them.


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