No Play Store for old Chromebooks

Even if they can run Android apps

As the company announced during Google I/O 2016, Google plans to bring the entire Play Store—Google’s repository for Android apps—to Chrome OS. Not every app will work flawlessly, of course, as the Chromebook will need to have any hardware the app requires to function. But for the most part popular Android apps should run just fine.

But here’s the catch: The upcoming Android apps functionality will only work with future Chromebooks and select existing Chromebooks that rolled out in the last two years, as Ars Technica first noticed. Google recently posted a compatibility list for Chromebooks that will run Android apps, and the roster is sure to frustrate folks who jumped on the Chromebook bandwagon early.

Got a 2013 Chromebook Pixel with an Intel Core processor and 8GB of RAM? No Android apps for you. How about a 2015 Dell Chromebook 11 3120 with an Intel Celeron processor and 2GB of RAM? Use all the Android apps you want.

That suggests there are no technical limitations preventing at least some older Chromebooks from running Android apps. Google told Ars the decision to cut out devices older than two years was intentional. In other words, don’t expect to see a ton of other devices added to the list over time. If that’s the case, then the limitation may be a ploy by Google and its partners to sell more Chromebooks.

Now to be fair, Google only promises to support Chromebooks for five years from their release date. Early Chromebooks from 2010 and 2011, therefore, may simply be unsupported due to Google’s end-of-life policy. But that doesn’t explain the seemingly arbitrary decision to cut out Chromebooks from 2013 and early 2014.

Chrome OS + Android = consumer interest?

As for users who haven’t yet touched a Chromebook, if anything will help Chrome OS catch on in the consumer market it’s Android apps. Everyday customers who are reluctant to try Chrome OS may think twice when the same apps they’re familiar with on their phone are also available on their PC—especially when it comes to Chromebooks rocking touchscreens like the convertible Asus Chromebook Flip.

The Play Store on Chrome OS is expected to start rolling out to mainstream users later in 2016.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Google PlayChromebooks

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?