For the past several years, Google has been trying to encourage Android developers to create apps optimized for larger screens. The latest push is centered around Chrome OS and Android Foldables, with the company revealing a new usage statistic today.
At the 2019 Android Dev Summit, Google noted how time spent in Android apps on Chrome OS has grown 4X from March 2018 to 2019. This increased engagement comes as the company also touted 44% year-over-year Chromebook growth in notebook sales, while other brands decreased by 6.1%.
The developer conference also saw Google announce a number of ways to make Android development easier on Chrome OS. With Chrome OS 80 next year, developers will be able to deploy Android apps directly to Chromebooks instead of requiring a connected phone for testing.
That way, you can develop and test your app on the same machine, all without a connected device or needing to put your laptop in developer mode. Developers can start testing this feature in developer channel in November.
Meanwhile, the quality of development tools, like Android Studio, will improve with Linux GPU acceleration support. This should reduce latency and “deliver a snappier UI.” Setting up development environments also improves with Linux container backup and restore.
Now, Chrome OS’s container-based architecture allows you to pack up your entire workspace and export it to external storage or Drive. The backup file can be restored at any point, either on the same machine — which is helpful when jumping back to a previous state — or to move to another Chromebook.
In terms of app functionality, picture-in-picture (PiP) for Android apps will launch next year, though it can be enabled today in Developer options. For example, you can use YouTube for Android to watch video in a floating window.
Android growth on Chrome OS comes as Google last month touted 175 million tablets running the mobile OS with the Play Store installed.
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