Android app usage on Chromebooks grew 50% in 2021

Chromebooks still can’t do everything a traditional Mac or PC computer can (like change the default web browser), but their compatibility with most Android apps and games has gotten more impressive over the years. More and more people are also using Android software on Chrome OS, at least according to a stat that Google just announced.

A new blog post on the Chrome OS developer site has summarized some of the improvements made to Chromebook-enabled Android app development over the past year, such as the addition of official Unity engine support in June. Google also had this to say, citing internal data collected by the company:

Whether unleashing their creativity on Concepts⁠, playing games like Crypt of the NecroDancer⁠, or taking notes on Squid⁠, more and more people are looking for their favorite smartphone experiences on large-screen devices, such as Chromebooks, tablets and foldables. On Chromebooks alone, the number of users using Android apps increased by 50% year over year (YOY).

In other words, 50% more people are now using Android apps on Chromebooks, compared to 2020. Google hasn’t explained the reason for this change, but there are many likely factors. The Google Play Store is prominently displayed on most new Chromebooks, and while the Chrome Web Store hasn’t been a popular place to download apps for a long time, Google has officially ended support for Chrome apps. Web Store on Chrome OS in 2021. TikTok and other platforms that are primarily accessible only through mobile apps have also grown in popularity throughout 2020 and 2021.

Google has also tried to improve the experience of Android apps and games on Chrome OS, with some Chromebooks getting an upgrade to Android 11. Outside of mobile apps, the desktop Linux virtual machine on Chrome OS is also moving fast, allowing Chromebook owners to use some traditional desktop apps without remote desktop or other streaming solutions.

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