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Google brings Chrome apps to Android and iOS

A new breed of cross-platform apps beckons
Wed Jan 29 2014, 10:24
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SELF SERVING operating system developer Google has made app building tools for its Chrome web browser available to software developers on Android and iOS.

Up until now, although Chrome has been available to mobile users, apps have been the exclusive domain of desktop machines, with offline app development introduced in September 2013.

The idea is not to make a full Chrome OS experience available on mobile devices, which would have a familiar whiff about it for anyone who has been frustrated by the much maligned dual interface of Windows 8. Rather, it will allow software developers to design one app for the Chrome web browser across all operating systems.

The beta toolkit is available now, based on Apache Kordova, which previously was Adobe Phonegap, and includes a "wrapper tool" that converts Chrome creations into apps ready for publication.

Because Chrome apps use a familar mix of protocols, primarily HTML5 and Javascript, the potential convergence could lead to a raft of new apps running across multiple operating systems, reducing developer time, and increasing the parity between versions of the same app, with common features, user interfaces and functionality.

As part of the rollout, Android 4.4 Kitkat automatically defaults to Chrome for web apps, whereas previous editions rendered them in the stock web browser that Google has slowly deprecated.

Although this early version of the software development kit will not be without its faults, intrepid early adopters can begin development by going to the Chromium blog, which has a full list of the features available and links to a raft of support. µ

 

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