"Packaged apps allow Chrome OS [and Chrome] to become richer platforms," argued Hilwa in an email Friday. "The approach appears to be about offline capabilities, which make Chrome OS much more practical and useful. To the extent Google is able to build a rich ecosystem of these apps, Chrome OS may encounter more success in the marketplace."
Google and its partners have had only limited luck pushing Chromebooks. According to Stephen Baker of the NPD Group, during March and the first half of April, Chromebooks accounted for 22% of sub-$300 notebooks sold at retail in the U.S. Because the sub-$300 category was 19% of all notebook sales, Chromebooks were responsible for just 4% of all laptop sales.
Google has promised to add packaged app discovery to the OS X and Linux versions of Chrome 28's Dev build. The developer preview of Chrome 28 can be downloaded from Google's website.
This year's I/O conference, scheduled for May 15-17 in San Francisco, will host at least two sessions on packaged apps, including a project status update on May 15 and another on May 17 to show developers how to transform their Web apps into packaged apps.
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