Chromebooks and Chrome OS have grown exponentially in the past few years. From its focus on education to the perfect pandemic device, more and more consumers are taking notice with their wallets. Chrome OS is now the second most popular desktop system behind Mac OS and knocking Windows to number three.
Another focus has been developers and Google created the Linux app runtime on Chrome OS with this user in mind. Today, after three long years, Google has announced at I/O that Linux apps will remove the beta tag. This will come in the latest Chrome 91 update coming to devices in the next few weeks.
While the experience is limited, this does open Chrome OS devices up to a large ecosystem of Debian Linux apps. Google was quick to remind that this is mostly intended for developers to test dev systems with IDEs and code editors, but it also allows for you to run traditional desktop apps. Think Firefox, Thunderbird, Signal, or even LibreOffice.
As Google continues to mature the software behind Chrome OS, and in extension Android apps, Linux support could be a key cog in developers taking the platform seriously. Being able to champion the platform you are making applications to run on is huge and isn’t very easy without the Linux runtime.
You can watch the full virtual keynote below. It’s worth noting that Google also calls out plans to launch 50 new Chromebooks this year and Android 11 will come to the Android environment. No details were offered on the new hardware, but Android 11 is confirmed to make it in the next update with Chrome 90.