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Google Chromebooks Will be Able to Run Some Android Apps

Rafe Needleman
Editorial Director, Yahoo Tech
Yahoo Tech

SAN FRANCISCO — At Google I/O, the company had a short update on its line of Chromebook laptops. As most people who have Chromebooks also have phones (except for the school kids who use the devices), most of the updates centered around Chrome OS and Android integration.

A Chromebook getting an alert from a phone. (Yahoo Tech)

Alerts and updates on Android phones can now appear on Chromebooks. If your phone gets a call or a text message, you’ll be able to get an alert on your laptop. This capability falls short of the “Continuity” feature that Apple is pitching for iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, in which calls and messages can be completely handed off from phone to laptop.

The Android app Vine running on a Chromebook. (Yahoo Tech)

One area where Google is outstripping Apple is that the company is actively porting some Android apps to its Chrome OS platform. The company showed three Android apps — Evernote, Vine, and Flipboard — running on a Chromebook. The apps are said to have full access to the Chromebook hardware, so you can, for example, use the camera when running Vine to post directly from a Chromebook.

Chromebooks will also be able to unlock automatically when the owner’s smartphone is present. This mirrored an earlier demo today, in which Google showed how a phone could unlock when the owner’s Android watch was nearby.

Rafe Needleman can be reached at rafeneedleman@yahoo.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @rafe​.