Since Chromebooks started getting Android apps earlier this year, only three models were supported, the Asus Flip, Acer R11 and the Chromebook Pixel 2015. However, now more Chromebooks can run Android apps via the Beta Channel update and the good folks over at ChromeUnboxed tested the method below on four models successfully – Toshiba Chromebook 2, HP Chromebook 13 G1, Acer Chromebook 15 and the Acer Chromebook 14.
Before you can give this a try on your Chromebook, you will need to check your About ChromeOS page to see the ARC version, which should be 3532895.
If that’s correct for your Chromebook, you need to move to the Beta Channel first by going to Settings> About ChromeOS> More Info> Change Channel> Beta.
After this your book will be reset and your internal storage will be wiped.
Now you need to transition to developer mode – by pressing the Ctrl + Alt + D keys and then waiting for about 15 mins till the transition is complete.
Then you enter Crosh (Ctrl + Alt + T) and type shell and hit return. Now you need to copy the code below and enter it into the window, line by line, hitting enter after each line.
sudo cp /etc/chrome_dev.conf /usr/local/
sudo mount –bind /usr/local/chrome_dev.conf /etc/chrome_dev.conf
sudo echo “–enable-arc ” >> /etc/chrome_dev.conf
After this just logout of your book and log back in and you should see the Play Store in the settings menu now. Don’t power off your Chromebook for this, or you will need to enter the code above again to get Play Store.
That’s pretty much it.
Android apps on Chromebooks make a lot of sense, unifying Google’s desktop and mobile experience, and is something Google is probably planning for the long-run, for when Apple’s MacOS and iOS are unified eventually.
Regardless of that though, while underpowered compared to regular laptops and PCs, the ability to run Android Apps natively on Chromebooks makes them uniquely useful. Something that was also the reason behind the popularity of the Remix Mini PC that ran Android apps in a desktop environment.
Not only are Android apps much lighter than comparable PC apps, they allow for increased multi-tasking, not to mention that most of them are free to download from the Play Store. They will also mean that potentially, people will be using Chromebooks for gaming as well – something that was just not possible earlier.
Now you can pair a controller with your book and fire up Asphalt 8 for some crazy racing fun straight from your Chromebook – on a larger screen, without having to buy a tablet (if you already have a Chromebook).
Although the Chromebook will never be anywhere near entry level gaming laptops, it’s going to be a good, portable, casual use device for people wanting to surf the net, check mails and play some games (still at a high price though).
Have you tried the beta on your Chromebook? How is your experience with Android apps on ChromeOS? Share your thoughts via commenting below.