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Chrome apps can now be built for Android and iOS

best-chrome-business-apps

Back in September, Google expanded the functionality of desktop Chrome apps, allowing them to work offline by default and behave like native applications outside the browser. This week, Google has announced an early developer preview of a toolchain based upon Apache Cordova, which will allow devs to bring their Chrome apps to iOS and Android.

The new toolchain allows devs to wrap their Chrome apps within a native shell so they can be distributed via Google Play and the App Store. Google has also provided emulation tools and a simple workflow for packaging the apps in the preview to help devs get started. Developers will have access to a variety of Chrome and Cordova APIs for their apps as well (check out the full list at the source link).

While Google is obviously quite happy with any extension of the Chrome ecosystem, it will be interesting to see if Apple responds in any way to repackaged Chrome apps in the App store, or if consumers reject repacked web apps in favour of a fully native experience.

SourceGoogle

  • It’s Me

    Saves them the trouble of updating Dalvik to support 64 bit apps (when the hardware comes). Added benefit of being cross platform.

    • deltatux

      They’re moving people over to ART with the next version of Android. Dalvik already supports running natively on 64-bit on ARM and x86 so there’s no problem for Google regardless. Since Dalvik is the VM that runs the apps, so the apps no need to be updated anyways.

    • It’s Me

      ART, in and of itself, is not a fix for
      64 bit nor is it meant to. It’s primary goal is to lessen the inherent lag caused by JIT environments. So, great that apps will launch faster, but that has nothing to do with 64 bitness. ART is still unrealized and is still considered an experimental beta, so it’s not entirely accurate to say they are moving people to it.

      As far as dalvik being able to run on a 64 CPU, well of course it can, as can any other 32 bit process. But can it fully utilize the advantages of 64 bit? Questionable. And if it can, while the apps running in the VM will run, will they need reworking to take full advantage? Neither is clear. ART by itself shows that google does not see dalvik as the future. Remember, googles own description of dalvik is that it is meant for low horse power, low resource devices.

      Chrome has been speculated for some time to be the answer to these questions. The announcements this week lend support to this speculation.

  • rgl168

    I think this will ruffle some feathers at Cupertino.

    • Brad Fortin

      Why? There’s dozens of tools out there already that let developers make non-native apps and wrap them in a nice iOS-compatible package.

      This is nothing new.

    • rgl168

      Apple wants their developer to use Xcode/Objective C, not these wrapper tools. A few years ago they placed a (short-lived) condition in the developer agreement that they must use Xcode; only after the threat of antitrust lawsuits that Apple backed down.

  • gommer strike

    I’m all for situations which make it as easy, and as simple as possible, for developers to write code once, and then port everywhere.

    I would like to see some of the problems of Google Chrome apps straightened out – for example Hangouts has the disconcerting habit of randomly disconnecting or sometimes requiring a login, and sometimes it doesn’t. Keep it more consistent, Google.

    And then we have the arguments that Chrome apps are all in truth, web-based apps, with just a minimal front-end to mask the backend. Is this true? If so, maybe that could explain why the odd behaviors here and there.

  • TrainAss

    Sweet! Next I hope will bring the Chrome app syncing between platforms. It’s nice being able to install Chrome on a PC, log in and all my bookmarks and apps get pulled across automatically.

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