Things just keep getting more and more interesting with Google and its Chrome OS.
Yesterday it was word about the Chromebit HDMI stick.
Now there’s word that Google is now letting any Android developer port its apps, or games to run on Chromebooks and other Chrome OS devices, like Chromeboxes and Chromebits. That would mean if you are one of 70-plus companies that have written a digital signage player on Android, you can now make it work on Chrome.
Google’s Android Runtime for Chrome (ARC) is a set of tools that basically lets an Android app run on Chrome OS as if it were running on an Android tablet. Whenever the app tries to access an Android-specific resource, ARC supplies the appropriate Chrome equivalent.
ARC is still in beta and doesn’t support every part of Google Play Services, but there is support for Google Maps, Google+ sign-in, location, advertising, and more.
Users might not even know if an app they’re running was originally designed for Android — all apps will look pretty much the same in the Chrome Web Store. The upshot is that we could start to see more apps including many which had originally been available for smartphones and tablets, but not for Chromebooks and Chromeboxes.
“On paper, this seems like a nice way to break out of the limitations of ChromeOS,” offers BroadSign VP Technology Bryan Mongeau, an early adopter on Android. “In practice, it remains to be seen.”
“And now, with Chromebit, this is getting interesting finally,” he adds.
Now at first blush, you look at this and think, “Wow, Google is kinda knocking off Android as an option for signage.” Then you remember, “Oh yeah, Google developed Android,too … and it’s really for phones.”
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.