Run Chrome Apps on mobile using Apache Cordova

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

In September we introduced a new breed of Chrome Apps that work offline by default and act like native applications on the host operating system. These Chrome Apps are currently available on all desktop platforms. Today we're expanding their reach to mobile platforms with an early developer preview of a toolchain based on Apache Cordova, an open-source mobile development framework for building native mobile apps using HTML, CSS and JavaScript.


The toolchain wraps your Chrome App with a native application shell and enables you to distribute your app via Google Play and the Apple App Store. We provide a simple developer workflow for packaging a Chrome App natively for mobile platforms. You can run your Chrome App on a device or emulator using the command-line or an IDE. Alternatively, you can use the Chrome Apps Developer Tool to run your app on an Android device without the need to install an IDE or the mobile platform’s SDK.

We’ve made many of the core Chrome APIs available to Chrome Apps running natively on mobile, including:
  • identity - sign-in users using OAuth2 without prompting for passwords
  • payments - sell virtual goods within your mobile app
  • pushMessaging - push messages to your app from your server
  • sockets - send and receive data over the network using TCP and UDP
  • notifications (currently Android only) - send rich notifications from your mobile app
  • storage - store and retrieve key-value data locally
  • syncFileSystem - store and retrieve files backed by Google Drive
  • alarms - run tasks periodically
In addition to the above Chrome APIs, you have access to a wide range of APIs supported in the Cordova platform.

For web developers, this toolchain provides a simple workflow for extending the reach of Chrome Apps to users on mobile platforms. The toolchain is in developer preview mode, and we expect to continually improve it based on your feedback. To get started, take a look at our dev workflow and sample apps. As always, we welcome your feedback on Stack Overflow, our G+ Developers page, or our developer forum.

Andrew Grieve, Software Engineer and WebView Wrangler

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