Windows 11 tried to make Chromebooks useless, but Google just destroyed its efforts
I’m not an app developer, so I don’t claim to understand the intricacies of Android Package Files (APKs) which can be officially downloaded from the Google Play Store on Android and Chrome OS devices. What I will say, however, is that Google’s recent announcement that it is switching to something called Android App Bundles (.aab) instead of APKs could be the fatal blow to Microsoft’s recent efforts to allow Windows 11 users to run phone apps on their desktops. In doing so, Google may have just maintained a very important line between the value proposition of Chromebooks and their competitors.
Android app bundles are great – they’re basically designed to separate the different parts of an Android app into individual files, providing only the ones you need for your specific device during installation. This ensures that you don’t download a bunch of unnecessary code that the developers have built in so that their app is universal for all devices. This means that if you have a specific display type, process architecture (say x86 or ARM), etc., you will only get the files needed for those specs. This helps keep the installation small and fast, and no one gets a bunch of extra code for no reason.
This is all fantastic for users who get their apps from the Google Play Store – Android and Chromebook owners in particular – but for those who load apps on their devices due to lack of official availability etc. ., this can present a major problem. See, you can’t just load an Android App Bundle the same way you would an APK. It remains to be seen whether something like the APK Mirror Installer will be able to deliver App Bundles in the same way as APKs, so When Windows 11 users start trying to load apps on their PC, they may face severe limitations in the near future.
Technically, .aab files, by their very nature, are not meant to be directly installable. Instead, .aab is a post format that includes all of a developer’s app code and compiled resources, but it’s up to the Google Play Store to generate and sign an APK. So without Google Play Store installed on Windows 11 machines, .aab files can be completely unnecessary for side loading! What I’m saying is that by switching from .aab to .apk, Google has just slowed down Microsoft’s efforts to make Chromebooks less relevant. Whether intentional or not, Google has simply protected itself from Windows 11 diving into and attempting to steal its user base with a whole new coat of paint and Android app capabilities.
Windows 11 users will be able to install apps directly from the Amazon App Store, but as I said earlier this week, Amazon’s offers are way lower than the Google Play Store, in my opinion. not so humble. Rather, it takes an organized approach, and that may be more appealing to some, but it also means that a lot of popular apps and experiences are being left out, so time and time again consumers have chosen Android and Chrome OS devices over them. Fire tablets for this reason. .
Going forward, Google requires all apps submitted to the Play Store in early August of this year to use the .aab format instead of the .apk format. Any apps that already exist on the store can remain in their original format, so Windows 11 users will have plenty of experiences to install and use outside of the Amazon app store, but it also means that almost all new and updated apps will be out of reach for those using Microsoft’s new operating system.. There will likely be cases where app developers continue to offer APKs through their own websites and sites like APK Mirror, but the majority will have to comply, and maintaining two fronts will prove to be more work and less beneficial.
Most regular users will never make loading apps a normal thing anyway, and newer apps and older app updates probably won’t be able to load on Windows 11, so that’s really a problem. moot point, but I think Microsoft’s intentions in offering the ability to install applications on its operating system are twofold. First of all, I have no doubt that they want to win back a lot of casual users who have switched to Chromebooks in recent years., and secondly, I think the inclusion of apps on laptops and desktops became a useful, standardized offering thanks to Google and Apple (until PWAs took off completely), and Microsoft was there. eccentric until now, so he had to fix it somehow.
Chrome OS is a lightweight, secure operating system that primarily focuses on web applications, so it will remain a massive market of regular computer users who prefer it to the beast that is Windows (despite its new paint ), but even as Microsoft continues to provide the ability to install Android apps on desktops for years to come, it can only be a good thing for consumers to have familiarity and consistency in their experience. on competing devices. Again, the user comes out on top. Still, I can’t help but think that Google knew what it was doing when it decided to switch files from Android packages to app packages.
Either way, money will always be a big factor for businesses and if the line between opposing products blurs or disappears, so does the unique value proposition. I am not taking sides here, I am just stating the facts – this is as true for Google as it is for Microsoft. Apparently, App Bundles are a nightmarish transition for app developers, and users would probably much prefer to have full control over the apps they install on their Windows devices, so this change is great news for Google as well. than business and even for Chromebook users, but probably not that great for a lot of us who use both operating systems.