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Google's Android Runtime for Chrome to bring native Android apps to Chromebooks

Mark Hachman | April 1, 2015
Think of App Runtime for Chrome as a powered-up version of Google's packaged apps for Chrome OS. First up: the awesome VLC video app.

To date, just a few Android apps--including Evernote, Vine, Duolingo, and Sight Words--have made the jump to Chrome OS. Other "apps," such as Dropbox, basically point to their respective websites. Woodward said that Google has been working with eBook distributor OverDrive and Amazon's Kindle on these new ARC apps, and hopes to land more developers as ARC's awareness grows.

Will Chromebooks suddenly sprout dozens, if not hundreds of Android apps? Probably not overnight. Google faces the same problem as BlackBerry, Tizen and Windows Phone: Although backed by a high-profile developer, the market for Chrome OS remains relatively small, compared to the PC or even Android phones. In certain segments, however--commercial and education--Chromebooks are faring quite well. Last July, for example, NPD said that Chromebooks represented 40 percent of all commercial notebook sales. 

Chromebooks appear to be succeeding based on their capability as efficient, low-cost devices to access the Web. And if they can run Android apps as well, they'll become a lot more useful.

 

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