How To Run Almost Any Android App On Windows, OS X, Linux with Chrome
From last week, Google began paving the way to run Android apps on Chrome Operating System through the project named "App Runtime for Chrome", but the release came with a lot of limitations – it only supported certain Android apps and on Chrome OS only. At the launch, initially only 4 Android apps – Vine, Evernote, Duolingo and Sight Words – were added to the Chrome Web Store.

That was pretty exciting, but it merely whet the appetite of users hungry for more functionality. So, what if you could run more than just 4 Android apps on Chrome OS? And Also could run them on other operating systems as well?

A developer by the name of "Vlad Filippov" began working on it to stripped away the limits Google has imposed. He successfully figured out a way to bring more Android apps to Chrome, instead of just the four that are officially supported by Google.

The bigger success was that when Filippov got Android apps to work on any desktop Operating System that Chrome runs on. This means that now you are able to run Android apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux as well.

The process uses App Runtime for Chrome (ARC) – a Google project that allows Chrome to run native code safely within a web browser. Since ARC was only officially released as an extension on Chrome Operating System, but Native Client extensions are meant to be used on different platform.

So, in an efforts to do so, Filippov made a custom version of ARC, called ARChon, which supports both desktop Chrome and Chrome OS. However, there is one potential roadblock with the ARChon that it doesn't run Android app packages (APKs), which instead need to be converted into a Chrome extension. Now, that's simply made possible by the use of "chromeos-apk", another Filippov's tool, which as a result allows operating systems to support an unlimited number of Android APKs.

  • The Developer has posted the code and instruction on github. In short you need to do is:
  • Install Android app from the Chrome Web Store so your Chromebook will install the Android app runtime.
  • Install Node.js and Filippov's chromeos-apk tool on a Linux system (it'll work on a Chromebook running Ubuntu in Crouton, so you don't necessarily need a separate computer).
  • Download an Android APK and then use the chromeos-apk tool to prepare the app to run on Chrome OS.
  • Copy the converted app to your Chromebook, type "chrome://extensions" (without quotes" in the URL bar, enable Developer mode, and then use the "Load unpacked extension" option to locate and install the app.
That's all !! Not every Android app will work. Some apps that have been confirmed to work include Pandora, Twitter, Soundcloud, and Skype — although you have to do a little extra work to make Skype work. Some other apps such as XBMC, WhatsApp, Firefox, Opera, and Spotify do not work yet. You can even keep track of which APKs have been tested in the Chrome-apk subreddit.

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