The next step in the Android’s and Chrome OS’s convergence is here.
Starting today, all developers can access Google’s App Runtime for Chrome to convert Android apps to work on Chromebooks. This comes after an extensive beta period where Google worked with a select number of developers like Evernote, Duolingo and Vine to optimize specific Android apps for the big screen.
Along with this announcement is the addition of a new convertible Chromebook by Asus, aptly named the Chromebook Flip. The 10.1-inch device has a 1280×800 pixel touchscreen, and like Lenovo’s Yoga line can rotate on a hinge to become a tablet with a stand. The chassis is all-metal, and it weighs just under two pounds.
To make the touchscreen more usable with Android apps, the version of Chrome OS that ships with the Chromebook Flip will support Android’s virtual keyboard. Google has also refreshed the traditional Chrome OS app launcher to look a lot more like Google Now, complete with search bar and time- and context-sensitive cards.
While Chrome OS isn’t entirely touchscreen-optimized just yet, with the release of Google’s new Pixel 2 it now offers a range of touch-enabled Chromebooks at many price points.
Asus’s new Chromebook Flip will be sold in the U.S. for $250, with availability in the early summer. There’s no word on a Canadian launch, but we’ve reached out to Asus for confirmation.