Android apps on Chrome OS have taken off within in the last year. At I/O 2018, Google recapped and announced features coming to the operating system that benefit Android developers and end users alike, including Gboard and app shortcuts this year, as well as more features with Android P.
The first new feature coming with Chrome OS 69 is support for the Android virtual keyboard. On stage, Google showed off Gboard with its expressive features like GIFs, stickers, and emoji fully displayed given the width of the Pixelbook.
Meanwhile, Chrome OS apps are also gaining support for app shortcuts, with notifications, actions, and system controls to Pin to Shelf and open App info. A related feature that’s not new allows developers to group multiple apps into one app icon in the bottom shelf bar. For example, with Google Play, the family of apps could be represented by a Play Books icon, but tapping gives users access to Movies & TV and Music.
Lastly, with Chrome 69 coming this fall, the OS is adding multi-channel USB, AAudio, and Audio MMAP to boost its Pro Audio capabilities. Google demoed this on stage with a DJ app running from a Chromebook.
As revealed yesterday, Google announced that Android P for Chrome OS will add support for Picture-in-Picture that is identical to Android’s with controls and draggability.
Android Studio on Mac, Windows, and Linux is gaining a full Chrome OS emulator with a full image, with ADB debugging over USB starting with the Pixelbook and HP Chromebook X2. Chrome OS is also gaining a terminal that runs in a full Linux environment.
Announced at the Developer Keynote, Linux on Chromebooks allows for Android Studio and other Linux apps. Developers in the audience were particularly thrilled about programing on the Pixelbook and then directly pushing the Android app to the device where they can interact with the touchscreen, rotate, and more.
Update: Google has posted the full “What’s new in Android apps for Chrome OS” session this afternoon: