Google today launched Chrome apps for iOS and Android, which will see Chrome-based apps encased in a native application shell that allows them to be distributed through the Apple App Store and Google Play. Currently, Chrome-packaged apps are written in JavaScript, HTML, and CSS, but are able to launch outside the browser, access APIs and work offline.

Developers can access an early developer preview of a toolchain based on Apache Cordova, an open source platform for building native mobile applications with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Using the toolchain, developers can wrap existing Chrome Apps with a native shell, which transforms them into apps that can be sold on the App Store.

chromeformobile

Example of a Chrome To-Do app running on OS X and Android

We provide a simple developer workflow for packaging a Chrome App natively for mobile platforms. You can run your Chrome App on a device or emulator using the command-line or an IDE. Alternatively, you can use the Chrome Apps Developer Tool to run your app on an Android device without the need to install an IDE or the mobile platform’s SDK.

Google has made multiple core Chrome APIs available to Chrome apps that are designed to run on mobile devices, including automatic sign-in via OAuth2, push messaging, storage, alarms, file system syncing able to store and retrieve files backed by Google Drive, and more.

In addition to the Chrome APIs, developers are also able to access APIs supported by the Cordova platform.

Chrome mobile apps come following the September launch of Chrome apps that work offline by default and function as native applications. In December, Google brought Chrome apps to the Mac, following a beta testing period that began in May. Chrome apps on the Mac are designed to function like native Mac apps, working offline, updating automatically, and syncing on any computer where a user is signed into Chrome.

Developers have the opportunity to begin working with Apache Cordova and their Chrome apps beginning today, but it may be some time before consumers see Chrome apps in the App Store.

Top Rated Comments

pgiguere1 Avatar
101 months ago
I thought web apps were officially dead.

People expect great performance from their apps, and so far it seems web apps can't offer that. Just look how crappy the old Facebook app was (before it went native), or how slow the App Store app still is.

Maybe Google will be able to do it better, but I'm highly skeptical. Using native APIs and a native, lower-level, compiled language will always be faster no matter what.

Yes, it means developers have to re-code a lot of stuff when developing for different platforms. But the mobile app industry is so big and potentially lucrative that developers shouldn't cut corners.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sir1963nz Avatar
101 months ago
No thanks, native apps are better.

No thanks, Apps that don't snoop on me are better
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Reason077 Avatar
101 months ago
This is great news! A To-Do list app will be a great addition to iOS! It's surprising that nobody has written one already.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Parasprite Avatar
101 months ago
"Currently, Chrome-packaged apps are written in JavaScript, HTML, and CSS"

Ew, that's lame. Is "Chrome" just supposed to mean "inefficiently programmed"?

Describe to me how those are inherently inefficient.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
afro-ninja Avatar
101 months ago
Reminders?!?!? It has a checklist and due date option

I believe you missed the sarcasm. It's okay, not all humour is as good as British humour (yes, with a 'u') :p
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tkermit Avatar
101 months ago
I'll stay as far away from this as possible.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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