Did you hear the big news? Android apps now run on Chromebooks. To be more specific, four Android apps run on Chromebooks. It now sounds like a little less of a big deal but in the long run, this has the potential to strengthen the case for Chrome OS, as we discussed in detail on this week’s Chrome Show podcast.
We’ll have to wait for [company]Google[/company] to work with Android developers and for the App Runtime for Chrome (ARC) to mature from its current beta status. But you don’t have to wait for more Android apps on Chromebooks if you want to use an unofficial solution: With it, you can install and try just about any Android app on a Chromebook, such as Flipboard.
Ausdroid spotted a little project created by a developer who goes by the name Vladikoff that brings Android apps into Chrome OS. You’ll need a computer running Windows, OS X or Ubuntu to use his ChromeOS-APK tool found here. Since you can easily run Ubuntu on a Chromebook using a script, you can even use a Chromebook with Vladikoff’s tool, which converts an Android app file into a Chrome extension.
Once you’ve made the conversion, here’s an example what you can expect to see:
Clearly, this isn’t an official solution; it’s using the ARC beta, which could certainly change over time. And since Android apps are created with a touchscreen in mind, certain app functions that require touch may not work. That’s why Google is working directly with a small group of developers for now; certain modifications may be needed for apps to work with the touchpad of a Chromebook, for example.
Still, for those with a touchscreen Chromebook, this is a slick technique to get more out of your device. For everyone else, it’s a closer look at where Google is going with its Chrome OS strategy: From a browser-based experience to a full platform for your computing needs.