In May, at the last Google I/O. Google made the announcement that in the near future, users will be able to use Android Apps right on their Chrome OS devices; Chromebooks. Well, that future is here and now.
Chromebook users running the developer channel Chrome OS version 53 already got Google Play Store baked into their computers. That means they can downloads Android Apps from the Play Store and install them on their Chromebooks. Eventually, this feature will roll out to the beta and finally stable channels, where most people exist.
The first batch of Chrome OS devices supported by Google to run Android apps includes the Asus Chromebook Flip, the Acer Chromebook R11, and the 2015 Chromebook Pixel. All these devices run Chrome OS 53 the alpha version of the operating system released on Google’s developer channel.
How Android Apps behave on Chromebooks
Yes, the idea of running your smartphone apps on a large screened-full device with full QWERTY keyboard; a desktop computer or laptop. Sound very liberating, but before you get too excited. Here are some speed bumps to check your speed towards going out to purchase a Chromebook so you can use Android apps on your desktop:
Ø The Android apps will work smoothly on Chromebook up to until the point they need hardware-dependent features like GPS, cellular services (calls and SMS), rear camera.
Ø Custom launcher apps are going to look like a cow on ice on your Chromebook. So don’t look forward to using those, well at least not in the near future.
Ø The apps that do work have a lot of bugs and issues including; apps opening as windows that cannot be resized in the Chrome OS.
Ø Video apps tend to go dark as soon as you remove focus on them.
How to run Android Apps on Chromebooks
The Chrome OS devices mentioned above are supported by Google to run Android apps, and if you own one and would like to give it a go; assuming you have digested the speed bumps outlined above. Here is how to install Android Apps on Chrome OS:
Open Settings > About Chrome OS > More Info > Change Channel > Dev Channel
You will get multiple warnings telling you the dev channel is not the most ideal Chrome OS to use for the average user. Meaning, you are very likely to experience random and sometimes frequent crashes and buggy apps. If you don’t mind that, then go right ahead and download and install the update.
The update comes with Google Play Store app baked inside as an icon on the app shelf located at the bottom of the screen. Click it, follow the prompts, accept the terms and conditions, and voila! You got Play Store on your Chromebook, ready to install Android Apps.
Users on Chrome OS devices different from the ones mentioned above, and are dying to use Android apps on their computers. Google asks you to be a little patient until they roll out Android apps across all other Chromebooks when the feature is launched officially.