Chrome OS shifting to Progressive Web Apps in place of certain Android apps
Support for Android apps on Chrome OS has had its undoubted upsides but it also has some downsides. This is particularly the case for Android apps that don’t translate their functionality across to larger displays, much like the issues faced with running certain smartphone apps on Android tablets. Google’s new progressive web applications (PWA) project looks set to address some of these shortcomings.
As spotted by Chromeunboxed, Google has started offering PWAs for certain apps Android apps that are popular, but don’t deliver an optimal user experience. The first app was Twitter for Android. If you’ve used the Android version of Twitter and used the web-based version, the experience is almost identical making the Android app redundant, particularly on a Chrome OS device that is designed to be web-first.
The latest PWA app to be offered as an alternative to its Android app equivalent is Google’s own YouTube TV. The key advantage of having apps delivered by the web is that with a modern browser that can run on any device, users are getting a truly universal app experience the effectively the same level, or better functionality than a native equivalent. Clearly, this isn’t going to be possible with all types of apps, but where possible, it makes sense from a development and open user experience perspective.