Google to bring Android app support to Chrome OS

The Play Store in Chrome OS? Screenshot: Reddit

The Play Store in Chrome OS? Screenshot: Reddit

Google is expected to bring Android app support to its Chrome OS platform after several references to the Play Store were found in the latest developer release.

The move could make more than a million Android titles compatible with super-affordable laptops from the likes of Acer and HP, and it could be announced at Google I/O next month.

Some Android apps are already compatible with Chrome OS, and can be downloaded from the Chrome Web Store. But there aren’t very many of them — far fewer than 1% of the total number of Android apps available in the Play Store.

But that could be about to change. Screenshots published on Reddit suggest Google is planning to make Android OS fully compatible with Chrome OS by default. Users have also found references to app support within the source code.

A new option within the Settings menu of the latest developer build (version 51), titled “Enable Android Apps to run on your Chromebook,” lets users access the Google Play Store and download any Android apps. However, it only appears briefly, then vanishes.

The finding suggests Google could announce plans to bring Android apps to Chrome OS at Google I/O, which kicks off on May 18. It’s a move that makes a lot of sense, and many fans have been waiting for it for a while.

Google has been working to bring Android and Chrome OS closer together for some time, according to reports. In late 2015, sources told The Wall Street Journal that the search giant would combine both platforms into one this year.

Although that may not be strictly true, the ability to run Android all apps in Chrome OS would certainly be the next best thing.