Google is heading toward the finish line for the first release of Chrome for Android. According to a developer post, Google has set a build target for the browser. The new browser is now evolving into a powerful cross-platform application that may help Google to aggressively push Chrome as a gaming and entertainment platform.
Google will soon unify its browser platform across Android, Chrome OS, Windows, Linux and Mac OS platforms. Last Monday, Google posted the build target revision for Android. The Chrome for Android UI was first compiled last Saturday; we also learned that the open source Skia 2D graphics library for Chrome for Android is a standard component and a Java bridge in the Webkit-based browser from the start.
The Chromium revision log indicates that Chrome for Android will become a mobile browser that integrates much of desktop browser’s feature set, which will help Google to patch bugs and security issues much faster than before. The Android browser could also see more updates in the future and evolve at a much faster pace.
It is still unclear how Google will position Chrome within Android. Whereas Chrome is the app surface in Chrome OS and is claiming more and more OS surface real estate on Windows, MacOS and Linux systems, the browser is just an app inside Android. While Chrome runs apps on the desktop, it will be difficult if not impossible for Google to convey the same idea to smartphones users and there is no question that it will be increasingly difficult for Google to explain the need for both Chrome and Android in the future.
However, the idea of a much more functional Webkit browser on a tablet – a browser that is closely related to desktop Chrome – is very appealing and should not be underestimated by Google’s rivals. We already know that Google is building a capable video game interface into Chrome via NaCl 3D and ideas such as Joystick API. If Google can extend those interfaces from desktop Chrome to the Android version, you may soon be able to run compute intensive video games via a web service on your phone. One more indication that Google is clearly heading into this direction is a new proposal to lock the mouse cursor in certain circumstances in Chrome.
A new Mouse Lock Specification Draft suggests that app developers could simply hide the mouse cursor and pre-determine its position to enable very specific control features for 3D applications and video games in Chrome. For example, this idea could imitate touch screen input on a non touch screen display, which could bridge the gap between traditional computing devices such as a notebook and desktop computer and mobile computing devices such as tablets.