Google started working with a handful of developers to bring Android apps to Chrome OS last year. But 6 months later, there are still only a handful of Android apps in the Chrome Web Store.

That could change very soon, because Google is now letting any Android developer port their apps or games to run on Chromebooks and other Chrome OS devices.


Up until recently, developers that wanted to create Chrome apps were asked to use web technologies including HTML5 and JavaScript. Now developers who have already created native Android apps written in Java or using the Android NDK can easily bring their apps to Chromebooks.

Google’s Android Runtime for Chrome (ARC) is a set of tools that basically lets an Android app run on Chrome OS as if it were running on an Android tablet. Whenever the app tries to access an Android-specific resource, ARC supplies the appropriate Chrome equivalent.

ARC is still in beta and doesn’t support every part of Google Play Services, but there is support for Google Maps, Google+ sign-in, location, advertising, and more.

Users might not even know if an app they’re running was originally designed for Android — all apps will look pretty much the same in the Chrome Web Store. The upshot is that we could start to see more apps including many which had originally been available for smartphones and tablets, but not for Chromebooks and Chromeboxes.

One example? PC World reports that the Android version of the VLC media player app should e available for Chrome OS in the coming weeks.

via Slashgear

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9 replies on “Google now lets developers bring any Android app to Chrome OS”

  1. Awesome! I’ve been waiting for this. I’ve already got Skype runnig on my Chromebook, but I really want the Android Google Calendar on there as well.

    I wonder if this will lead to android style widgets on chromeos desktop…?

  2. I guess Google has the same goal as Microsoft of converging user experience between desktop and mobile. It’s just that Google is mostly coming from the mobile side first while MS is coming drom the desktop.

  3. Huh, this could make Android obsolete…
    But for the moment I don’t have any interest in this until my Play Store purchases are carried over…

  4. This is good news. If ChromeOS is able to eventually run the same selection of apps as Android then it’s going to be a lot more useful. The odd one out is Apple which does not appear like it has much interest in fully converging their mobile and desktop apps.

  5. Correct me If I am wrong but I believe this will Android app not only to run on Chrome OS but in Chrome in general on other OS as well.

    1. Not yet. But it is based on the Native Client technology which means that theoretically it can and will be available for Chrome eventually.

      1. One cool sideeffect of that is that we may eventually be able to run our favorite Android apps in Windows too, via the Chrome browser.

    2. I don’t think Google will officially support that since they don’t want desktop OSes to be competetitive with ChromeOS and Android.

      The best we can hope for that they keep this runtime open-source (chromium) and some hackers will always create a version that works on one or more desktop OSes.

      Linux desktops will probably have this since that community is full of tinkering types.

  6. Yay. This means Android will eventually come to the web and Native Client will take over. Doom for Asm.js?

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