When an article appeared in the Wall Street Journal stating that Chrome OS would be folded into Android, many feared the worst for the future of Chromebooks. Now, less than six months later, the Chrome OS platform looks to be in excellent health, following two important pieces of news.
Firstly, there has been the report from analysts IDC that, for the first time, sales of Chromebooks have started to outstrip sales of Apple Macs in the United States. There was close to 2 million Chromebooks sold in the US during the first quarter of 2016, compared to 1.76 m Macs.
The Chromebook sales figures have been quickly followed by Google announcing that Android apps will be coming to Chrome OS. The roll-out process will begin in mid-June, with the Acer Chromebook R 11, ASUS Chromebook Flip and Chromebook Pixel (2015) first to receive the Play Store.
It appears that the Wall Street Journal got it wrong, and Google has said that it is committed to maintaining Android and Chrome OS as separate entities.
Android app support will naturally start rolling out first to the developer channel, before filtering through to the beta and finally the stable edition of Chrome OS.
Some older Chromebooks will not be able to run Android apps, including – most notably – the original Chromebook Pixel that was released in 2013.
There is nonetheless a large number of Chrome OS devices that will receive the Play Store, including some Chromebases. Google has published a full list of hardware that will be enabled to run Android apps, with supporting rolling out throughout 2016.