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Some Google Android Apps Will Run on Chromebooks

More convergence of desktop and mobile apps, from Google's annual software conference.

In an effort to unify its two distinct (and sometimes confusing) operating systems, Google today announced new features that would allow consumers to run some Android mobile apps across Google-based Chromebook laptops.

Demoing a handful of new features around Chromebooks at its annual Google I/O developers conference, the company showed greater interoperability between smartphones running the latest Android software and its suite of Web-only laptops.

For example, when a user approaches his or her locked Chromebook while carrying a smartphone, the Chromebook will automatically unlock. When the user’s phone battery is running low, a notification will appear on the Chromebook desktop. Same thing when the person gets an incoming phone call.

But most interestingly, some Android mobile apps, such as productivity app Evernote and media-consumption app Flipboard, will run on ChromeOS laptops.

“Our goal is to bring [mobile apps] in a thoughtful manner to Chromebook,” said Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president of Chrome and apps. “We want them to work with as little modifications as possible” for developers, he elaborated.

The focus on interoperability between the two operating systems is not unlike Apple’s focus on “continuity” at its own developers conference, WWDC, a few weeks ago. With its upcoming desktop operating system, OS X Yosemite, Apple is promising a more seamless experience for consumers across their desktops and iPhones when it comes to features like mail, messaging and photo-sharing.

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