Google has confirmed that every Chromebook laptop launching this year will include the ability to run Android applications natively, thought admits that out-of-the-box support may not be available.
Google's Chromebook family has proven popular among those already tied in to the company's ecosystem. Typically based around relatively low-cost hardware, though with Google's own Chromebook Pixel family including long battery life and high resolution displays for a substantial premium, the devices work around the central premise that most of what a user does day-to-day can be achieved within a browser. As such, on a Chromebook, the browser is the operating system: The user interface is rendered in HTML5, and applications run entirely within the browser as web apps - though with offline support and the ability to execute native code in many cases, courtesy of Google's Native Client (NaCl) technology.
To boost their popularity, Google has been working to add the ability to install and use Android applications on Chromebooks. While some applications, such as those relying on a smartphone's small screen, ability to move around, or cellular networking, are obviously ill-suited to Chromebook use, others - particularly those with tablet interfaces well laid out for larger screens - will bring additional functionality to the platform.
Now, Chromium - responsible for the Chromium Browser and Chromium OS on which Chrome and Chrome OS are respectively built - has confirmed that all 2017-era Chromebooks will include support for Android applications, along with an impressive list of older devices visible on the official website
. Sadly, though, there's no hint yet on when
said devices will be getting support. 'All Chromebooks launching in 2017 and after as well as the Chromebooks listed below will work with Android apps at a time to be announced in the future,
' the announcement reads, before admitting that 'the feature may not be available right "out of the box." That experience will depend on when the Chromebook launches and when Android Apps on Chrome OS is out of Beta. We don't have an update right now on timing, but stay tuned.
At present, Android on Chrome OS is available in beta on just three devices: Google's flagship 2015 Chromebook Pixel, the Acer Chromebook R11 C738T, and the Asus Chromebook Flip.