Google recently introduced Arc Welder, a platform for developers to test and run Android apps on Google Chrome. Chrome already has a rich web store, where you can download and use several handy extensions and apps and the best part – sync them across all your devices. So before we proceed with some of the Android apps we like to keep on our chromebook, let’s take a look.
Why would you want to run Android apps on Chrome?
- Tablet mode – If you don’t have a tablet and there are Android apps and games that you think you will relish more on a larger interface, you can always run them on your PC or chromebook.
- If an App is not available on Chrome – If you have a Chromebook and want to run apps not available on chrome, for example Skype, you could always use Arc welder and run them on chrome.
- If you like Android version of the app better than the web version or if you are already accustomed to a particular app for a particular task
- Simply because you can and its fun!
How to Run an Android app on Chrome?
The process is rather simple and doesn’t require you to add even a single line of code. Follow the steps mentioned below.
Step 1: Download and install Arc Welder from Chrome web store
Step 2: Grab the Apk for the app you want to run, you can easily get this with a simple “app name apk” google search or use one of several apps to extract them from your Android phone.
Step 3: Click the ‘+’ button and add the app apk to Arc Welder. Select different options according to the layout you prefer for the app and select launch app option.
If you need only one app, that’s it. You are done. Your android app will be listed with other chrome apps. If you add another apk, Arc welder will remove the first app. But if you wish to add more, continue as follows
Step 4: after launching the app, go back to arc welder and hit the download ZIP option below.
Step 5: extract the downloaded zip file to a new folder or any folder on your computer
Step 6: Open chrome and click the hamburger option menu. Go to More tools>> extensions
Step 7: check the developer mode option on top and hit on “load unpacked extension”. Ignore the warnings highlighted in red.
Step 8: Browse to the folder in step 5 and you are done.
So, as you see, it is simple to add Android apps on chrome, but not all Android apps will run. All apps that rely on Google Play Services won’t run. Here are a few apps which I like to use on Chrome and Chromebook.
Music Streaming Apps
You might want to play a soft track while handling other stuff on your PC. Google doesn’t give any free subscription to Google Play Music with purchase of Chromebooks in India and you can instead download Android apps. I have tried Saavan and Gaana App and both work fine.
Dictionary apps are something which everyone needs to have quick access to. Thus it is always better if you have a separate app, which you can use offline too. You can download Dictionary.com app, which works best for me and even download all data offline from settings. You can also add dictionary apps of your choice, including Merriam Webster.
Those of you active on social Media understand beyond all implications, how a picture is worth a thousand words. Meme Generator for Android is a nice tool you can now package to Chrome. You can work with a larger tablet interface and directly share Memes on social media channels or save it for user pose
Pocket already has a Chrome extension and app, but if you like the Andorid tablet interface better, you can use it and view all content you have saved for offline usage, even on your PC.
A news reader is another thing you could use as an app, particularly on Chromebooks. Feedly app works just as well when ported to chrome and you can use it in a portrait style phone window to get back to what’s going on around the world whenever you get time.
Reddit users have compiled an excel sheet which list several other apps which successfully run on Chrome. Of course the list is incomplete and there are several other apps you will discover that can be added. Just try and add your favorite ones. Also remember there is no right click, you can click, long click and scroll to navigate the interface. Share your success in the comment section below.