Latest Stable Release Of Chrome OS Brings Google Play And Android App Support

It's been a long wait, but Chrome OS now finally and officially supports Android apps, though you'll need an Acer Chromebook R11 or Asus Chromebook Flip to enjoy the new luxury. If so, you can grab a Chrome OS update from the Stable channel (version 53.0.27815.129), which among other things includes a beta for the Google Play Store, Google announced in a blog post.

Being able to use Android apps in Chrome OS isn't entirely new. Google rolled out an update to the Dev channel back in June for Asus Chromebook Flip owners to have access to Android apps, though it meant relying on experimental code that wasn't quite ready for prime time. Still, it was an option for anyone feeling impatient and wanting to give the feature a try ahead of everyone else.

Asus Chromebook Flip

With a few additional months to tweak things, Google has managed to add support for Android apps just as a new school season gets underway. That's of particular significance since Chromebooks are by and far more popular in education segments than any other market. Students and teachers alike are drawn to Chromebooks because they're cheap, easy to use, and not as susceptible to malware as Windows. Adding support for Android apps broadens their appeal.

In addition to bringing support for Android apps, the latest build contains the usual round of bug fixes, security updates, and feature enhancements that are par for course when a new version gets released. Google says you can expect to receive automatic updates over the next several days, if not already.

Interestingly, Google's own Chromebook Pixel (2015) is not listed with the Acer Chromebook R11 and Asus Chromebook Flip as being ready to receive the update. If you want to play with Android apps on the Chromebook Pixel, you'll still need to use a Dev channel or Beta channel build.

Looking ahead, Google plans to add Android app support to several more Chromebook models throughout the rest of the year and into 2017. The list is rather long and contains several models from Acer, Asus, Dell, Haier, Lenovo, Samsung, Toshiba, and many others.