Google is set to bring Chrome packaged apps to mobile, as well as desktop. The apps in question, which recently launched as “Desktop apps” in the Chrome Web Store for Chromebooks (or "Offline Apps" elsewhere), act just like web apps except they operate outside of a web browser, and don’t need an Internet connection. While we’ve long expected Google to bring Chrome extensions to mobile, this represents a new frontier in Google’s platform functionality.
The project was discovered by The Next Web, who stumbled across a GitHub repository named Mobile Chrome Apps. Innocuous at first, it quickly became interesting when the project was found to be led by a Google software developer, Michal Mocny. The project is designed to give Developers a well rounded experience in programming and launching Chrome apps across platforms, and includes everything from bug fixes to testing.
Interestingly, the apps are meant for both the Play Store and App Store, but no nation of Windows Phone is made. The requirements suggest that Android 4.0 and up will be supported, with iOS functionality marked as TBA.
Chrome apps are written in HTML5, which has traditionally been reserved as a web-centric markup language. By offering HTML5 apps for offline use, Google is pushing the boundaries of operating systems, essentially challenging the need for one altogether. We see tho currently with Chrome apps finding a home on the Windows home screen and menu bar. By crossing into mobile, Google is continuing to push boundaries with the simplest of technologies.
The apps are said to be ready for beta testing as early as January, and we’ll be sure to watch for them in the Play Store. We’d like to think a Play Store update would serve as a precursor for a launch, as these would likely get their own section within Google’s storefront.