As promised, Google is bringing support for Android apps to its Chrome operating system. That means in addition to running thousands of web-based apps, you can now use a Chromebook to run some apps that had previously only been available on smartphones or tablets running Android.

There are only 4 Android apps available for Chrome right now, but Google plans to work with developers to bring more Android apps to Chromebooks and Chromeboxes in the coming months.

android on chrome os

The first apps include language-learning app Duolingo, online notebook app Evernote, short-form video app Vine, and Sight Words, an app for helping children learn to read.

Each of the apps was developed using a new tool called Android Runtime for Chrome (ARC) and each is available from the Chrome Web Store.

That means you won’t just be able to pick and choose apps from Google Play Store… at least not initially. But it also means that you’ll be able to install all Chrome apps from the same place, whether they were originally designed as Chrome web apps or Android apps.

In case you were wondering how you can run apps designed for one operating system on an entirely different OS, it’s because ARC is basically an app that now runs on Chrome and allows Android apps to run as if your Chromebook were an Android device. Developers don’t need to make any changes to their Android apps — although Google is still working with developers to bring select apps to the Chrome Web Store for now. That’ll probably help ensure that you don’t end up trying to load apps that don’t work well on devices that may not have a touchscreen.

Each of these apps has a strong web-based component, but they should run like native apps on a Chromebook.

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11 replies on “Now you can run (some) Android apps on a Chromebook”

  1. All of these apps seem to have one thing in common – very light-touch use of Dalvik/ART, and little if any NDK use. It seems that there will be considerable hand-holding when it comes to porting Android apps to Chrome OS. Things like Console OS and remain the best shots at getting true Android to work well on a PC.

  2. So taking a quick glance at the Chrome web store, there is no special section for these Android apps.
    Searching for Evernote shows the web app and a 19mb app that runs offline.

    I know the 19mb one is the Android app only because of this article. How else is anyone supposed to know? I guess it doesn’t really matter. If you want offline apps, just look for the lightning bolt in the app description that says “runs offline”. Anything going over 1mb is probably an offline app as opposed to a web app that is usually several hundred kb or less.

  3. I don’t currently use ChromeOS but I keep myself informed of what’s generally happening around it. I just need built in support for CIFS and SMB.

    As for Android apps, I’d like to use MX Player Pro and S3Anywhere Pro. Then again, I’d rather have a better built video player and support for other cloud storage than use 3rd party apps.

    I could do the whole run a desktop Linux distro in a chroot but then what’s the point in getting a ChromeOS device if I did that.

  4. Can it run the Epson print app? And pro office suite? That would do it for me.

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