Google Android Apps On Chrome Is Open To Everyone
Written by Mike James   
Thursday, 02 April 2015

It is a mystery why Google has two operating systems - Chrome OS and Android. Now there are signs that the two are moving closer together as you can run Android apps on Chrome. 

Last year Google announced that it had a system that allowed Android apps to run under Chrome - see Android Apps On Chrome. The only problem was that only "important" app makers were allowed to have access to it. For reasons that aren't entirely clear Google, wanted to offer end users "top notch" Android apps and not the sort of thing the rest of us produce. There was a way to get to use the software that allowed apps to run under Chrome, but was it worth the hack? 

Now Google seems to have opened the flood gates and anyone can port an Android app to Chrome using the amusingly named App Runtime for Chrome Welder - ARC Welder, get it?




ARC Welder uses a sandboxed Dalvik VM to run the Android code with Chrome acting as a host - either as a browser or as the Chrome OS. 

It runs as a standard Chrome app making it easy to try out. All you have to do is open ARC Welder, attach your Android app's APK, select some options and click Launch App. It seems that you can even publish your app in the Chrome Web Store. It doesn't work with all Android apps, however, so you really do have to experiment. 

It is suggested that the app uses a landscape tablet form factor and you need to test on touch and non-touch Chromebooks. You can use Play services in the app, but at the moment only the following are available: 

  • Auth (OAuth2)
  • GCM
  • Google+ sign-in
  • Maps
  • Location
  • Ads

The rest will follow. 

Notice that this means that you can now run your Android Apps on Chrome and Chrome OS - that is within Chrome browser running under Windows or Max OS. 

Clearly Google hopes that this will provide some missing apps to the ChromeOS and make it a better alternative to Windows and Mac OS, but will it make it a better alternative to Android in some cases? 

The wildcard is the idea that Android apps can now run on the desktop within a browser. For a very large class of apps this now makes the Android platform a way of delivering apps to Windows, Mac, ChromeOS and, of course Android. 

Android apps in the browser. 

Will this make a difference? 




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Last Updated ( Thursday, 02 April 2015 )