In September, Google told us that Chrome Apps would come to mobile operating systems as well — that packaged versions of web apps could even be sold in Google Play and the iOS App Store, once the company had worked the kinks out. At the time, the company cautioned that such an idea was a ways away, that Google wanted to target Windows desktops first. But it seems that Chrome apps could arrive on Android and iOS sooner than we thought.. Google has figured out a way to port apps to mobile using a new set of tools, and it hopes to release a beta version of those tools as soon as next month.
Cordova to the rescue
As reported by The Next Web, Google has been working on a compatibility layer for Chrome apps using the open source Apache Cordova tools. Where Chrome apps can do fancy things with your computer's GPU and other local hardware using Chrome-specific code, Google can allow them to do the same with mobile devices by using Cordova plugins that replicate and replace the equivalent Chrome app APIs.
Google has a team in Waterloo, Canada working on developer tools to port those Chrome apps over, with the latest versions currently hosted at GitHub. It's not clear when the tools will be done, but it might not take long for developers to get started. "We hope to have something in beta form in January," wrote developer advocate Joe Marini, just two days ago.
While Google wouldn't comment on the system when The Next Web asked, the company's not necessarily hiding the effort. At PhoneGap Day US 2013 earlier this year, Google software engineer Michal Mocny gave an entire presentation about the idea. You can watch it immediately below.