Google to Bring Chrome Apps to iOS

Google's Chrome Apps have been available for desktop systems running Chrome OS and Windows for some time now, and they just became available for Mac users early last December. Google is now bringing Chrome Apps to both Android and iOS via Apache's Cordova platform, which is a set of APIs (application programming interface) that allow mobile app developers to access native device functions (such as a camera or accelerometer) with HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

Chrome Apps for iOS

Google today released a preview of a toolchain for developers. This tool will allow developers to wrap their Chrome apps in a native shell and submit them to Apple's App Store and Google Play. In addition to a multitude of APIs available in Cordova,

Google made some of the core Chrome APIs available, including:

  • identity - sign-in users using OAuth2 without prompting for passwords
  • payments (currently Android only) - sell virtual goods within your mobile app
  • 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

According to Google, "For web developers, this toolchain provides a simple workflow for extending the reach of Chrome Apps to users on mobile platforms." To get started, developers on all platforms need Node.js version 0.10.0 or higher, plus several platform dependent development tools. You can see a list of sample apps here.