Android Apps on Chrome OS – Early Impressions and Takeaways

The Chrome OS and Android Convergence

The announcement that Android applications were coming to Chrome OS in 2016 has generated a significant amount of excitement, both in the tech press and with existing Chromebook owners. People have been speculating for years that there would be a so-called convergence between Android – Google’s mobile phone and tablet OS – and Chrome OS, Google’s desktop and laptop OS.

By leveraging the massive library of applications in the Google Play store, merging Android and Chrome OS together would significantly change the Chromebook landscape, adding a wealth of productivity and entertainment options into the Chrome OS world. This would especially benefit Chromebooks that were operating offline, where Chrome OS has much more limited functionality due to its reliance on web apps. It might also solve some of the challenges Google has in the consumer space, such as difficulty with certain types of files (like PDFs), with printing, and an absence of entertainment options, particularly while offline and with regard to games.

At least, that’s been the general line of thinking, and one that I’ve mostly shared. If I were able to install games like Minecraft and apps like MS Word and Amazon’s Kindle app, that would make my Chromebook much closer to a full-fledged laptop, truly eliminating my need for a Windows laptop or Android tablet. This is even more true if Limelight game streaming, PDF apps, audiobook apps, retro game emulation, and easier Printing functionality all come into play.

Obviously, there are many varied reasons why one might be excited to have Android apps on their Chrome OS device. Owners of the Chromebook Pixel 2015, Acer R11, and Asus C100P “Flip” get the first crack at Android apps on a Chromebook.

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Asus C100 Chromebook Flip Review

 

Another day, another Rockchip-powered Chromebook… but, thankfully, this one is different. Very different.

In fact, the Chromebook I’m reviewing today, the Asus C100,  is the most buzzed about Chromebook in some time.

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Where the Hisense and Haier Chromebooks represent the price basement of the Chrome OS lineup, the Asus C100 – hereafter referred to by its more common name, the Chromebook Flip – pairs the budget guts of those devices with an IPS touchscreen and a versatile aluminum hybrid body.

I gave a very positive review to the Asus C201, which has the same internal components as the Flip, but the Flip’s starting cost is nearly $100 more for a smaller device. Does it make sense to pair a budget SoC with higher-end build quality, and how is a touch-driven form factor work with Chrome OS?

Read on…

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