“The first 80 percent is 20 percent of the work,” said Kan Liu. “The last 20 percent is 80 percent of the work.”
It’s one of those axioms of life that has kept this senior director of product management for Chrome OS from making an easy go of officially launching Android apps on the notebook platform.
In an interview with The Verge during Google I/O, Liu reveals that the delayed star device for that launch, Samsung’s Chromebook Pro, finally has a target release date: May 28. This trails far behind the Chromebook Plus’s February release frame and the main reason why is because of major hardware and software issues that required an interdependence between Samsung and Google to work out.
As per the article:
The Chromebook Pro hardware itself needed to be redesigned. Issues with the thermals and antennas meant some things had to get shifted around. Google itself handles the software stack, so it needed to tweak that software as Samsung tweaked the hardware.
The other big problem comes with the slow and buggy progress being made with Android apps on Chrome OS, a project Liu’s crew has been working on for more than two years.
The decision has been made to launch the app store (based on Android Nougat) while still in beta — features such as window resizing, docking and split-view won’t fully come to pass until late this year. “80 percent” of apps will be ready for use, Liu said, but there are “guardrails” to keep things like apps made for phones doing too much wrong when scaled up or down.
But getting to parity is just the start.
“When we do get it right, our intention is to go big,” Liu said.
That’s when his team will focus on porting major new Android features on a Chromebook’s conventional six-week software cycle. It’ll take past this year to get up to that kind of pace, but once they do, Chromebook Pro users may see Android O features before Pixel users do… in theory. But there has to be plenty of handiwork before that time can come — as evidenced by the launch date for the Chromebook Pro, Google likes to lean heavily on the future.