Google has been heavily pushing Chromebooks and Chrome OS almost as the all-in-one computer system you’ll ever need, especially with the upcoming support for running Windows applications (at least on the enterprise). As a software platform, however, Chrome OS’s story has never really been complete and that is manifested in the lack of quality or even notable apps and games for Chrome OS. Google is finally adding a new chapter to that story with ChromeOS.dev, its new one-stop-shop to help developers get up and running on making software for Google’s OS.
Chrome OS actually has lots of apps but that’s only because of the fact that it supports web apps, both traditional and PWA, some Android apps, and some Linux software. What has mostly been lacking are the tools and documentation to actually encourage app and game developers to actually target Chrome OS rather than as an afterthought or side-effect only. With the newfound interest and demand in Chromebooks, however, there has never been a more perfect opportunity to try and sell the platform not just to users but especially to developers who will be shaping users’ experiences.
That’s what ChromeOS.dev is trying to bring to the table, guiding developers through the process of creating apps and games with Chrome OS in mind. That applies not just for native web apps but even for Android and Linux programs, including those that already exist and just need to be modified to work well on Chromebooks as first-class citizens.
Google is also improving developers’ workflows by making it easier for them to develop and deploy directly on their Chromebook. Full Android emulator support and testing apps directly on the device instantly transform Chrome OS computers into their own development machines. You will, of course, probably want to use a more powerful Chromebook.
Google didn’t make any big changes in Chrome OS but its announcement could have a significant impact on the platform nonetheless. It finally paints Chrome OS as something developers might want to target and also gives them the tools to do so to make their lives easier as well.