As you may know by now, Android apps don’t work too well on Chromebooks…
That’s probably why Google’s Android O release is coming. If you haven’t heard about it before, it’s an improved implementation of keyboard navigation on Chromebooks.
Google has been slowly adding more and more Chromebooks to its list of devices capable of running Android apps from the Google Play Store.
But the problem? They don’t work too well on a laptop.
Silly Google. Apps are for smartphones. (For now.)
Most Android apps are designed with the end user on a smartphone. Thus, they’re built for touchscreen controls and navigation. Port this to a laptop and you’ll end up with awkward and wacky controls, performance issues, and bugs.
You’re taking an app that’s built for a small screen with touchscreen controls and made to run with specific hardware ranges, and then you put it on a large screen with different hardware and a keyboard (for those who don’t have a touchscreen)- it’s bound to have issues.
It’s what’s been happening with even the newest and most advanced Chromebooks, such as the Samsung Plus. It’s been said that Android apps simply have too many bugs and result in a sub-par experience.
With Google then registering the trademark and will soon be pushing for the “apptop,” it basically lures the consumer into thinking they’re buying a laptop fully capable of running Android apps- assuming that’s their ad campaign goal.
Android apps work, but don’t work well
Android apps work on many Chromebooks, but the experience isn’t the best. And we’re not to expect any perfect performance either. The whole “running apps on a Chromebook” thing is still in beta, so it’s not a complete project.
However, Google continues to improve. With Android O coming out, it should make navigation on a Chromebook for apps much more intuitive. Google wants to give app developers the opportunity to add a smoother keyboard navigation so the integration with a Chromebook is sleek.
Dave Burke, VP of engineering for Android, states:
“With the advent of Android Apps on Chrome OS and other large form factors, we’re seeing a resurgence of keyboard navigation use within Android apps…in Android O we focused on building a more reliable, predictable model for ‘arrow’ and ‘tab’ navigation that aids both developers and end users.”
This clearly states that Google is making Android O a way to have Android play nice with Chromebooks. This is important, especially if every Chromebook from now on is going to be Android app capable. This is where these laptops are headed and it doesn’t seem to be slowing. Schools and students are pushing for this design and form factor because it helps students learn. And that’s also Google’s biggest market for Chromebooks.
Will Android O save the party?
Android O was announced at a recent conference. They’ve slowly added a few different models to the list of Play Store capable laptops. These computers are built by many leading manufacturers like Samsung, HP, Acer, Dell, and Lenovo. They’re all competing for the newfound market of app integration. The two-in-one form factor with touch integration seems to be the new standard of Chromebooks.
Not much has happened so far. Samsung is still a little awkward with Android apps, despise being the flagship Chromebook of 2017 so far.
However, it’s an improvement. After all, it’s still in beta, so give it time. It should only get more and more polished as updates release from Google.
I’ll touch on this topic again as Android O rolls out. Stay tuned for more.