One Year Later, Google’s Vision of Android Apps on Chrome Has Collapsed

Posted on May 5, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Mobile with 122 Comments

One Year Later, Google's Vision of Android Apps on Chrome Has Collapsed

One year ago, Google announced that it was bringing Android apps to Chromebooks in a move aimed directly at Windows. But that vision has never turned into reality. And this week, we found out that it is delaying this hybrid solution yet again.

What the hell is going on here?

Granted, this is a slow-motion train wreck: Google originally promised that Android apps would be broadly available on Chromebooks by the end of 2016. And media reports throughout last year were perhaps overly positive about Google’s expected impact on Windows PCs and Macs. This was supposed to be game-changing.

To be clear, if Google can pull this off, Android apps on Chrome will indeed be disruptive, as I opened pondered a year ago in Can Google and Apple Pull the Plug on the PC Market? A June 2016 video described the wonders of this solution.

And then things got silent. As I wrote in January, in Still Waiting for the Chromebook Revolution that Never Came (Premium), Google’s late 2016 promise was smoke, and only a very slim selection of devices ever got Android app support, and then only in pre-release form.

The back-to-back releases of the Samsung Chromebook Plus and Chromebook Pro in early 2017 were supposed to turn things around. These Surface-like hybrid PCs offer touch screens and pens, and can be used like a traditional laptop or like a tablet.

There’s just one problem: Samsung has only released the Chromebook Plus so far, and this expensive device hasn’t moved the needle at all. The Pro, which features an ARM processor instead of an Intel processor, was delayed from March to April. And then to May.

And now we’re told that this new version of the device will ship sometime “this spring.” And according to many reports, the reason for the delay is, yep, you guessed it, that Google actually cannot figure out how to combine Android apps and Chrome OS. This attack that Google announced a year ago is effectively vaporware.

I still believe that this kind of solution can be hugely damaging to Microsoft … but that is predicated on Google actually making it work. And so far, they have not.

So breathe easy, Microsoft fans. Once again, the company has been saved. Not by its own technical excellence, but because of the feeble ineptitude of its competitors. Classic.


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