Google will soon be letting developers come up with Android apps in the Chrome Web store, and this is the reason they have released the ARC Welder tool that allows you to run Android apk in Chrome. The ARC (Android Runtime for Chrome) Welder is basically designed for developers so that they can easily test their applications. The good thing is that any Chromebook user can install Android applications. That being said, we would however warn you that not all Android applications can be installed by ARC Welder since it is still in beta stage. If you want to try out the Android app on the Chromebook, please follow these steps.
1. Installing the ARC Welder app from Chrome Store
ARC Welder is available as a browser extension at the Chrome store. All you need to do is just add the extension and wait for it to download and install. As we already said earlier, the Arc Welder is still in Beta and is just a platform for developers, in spite of the fact that it is available for just about anyone to download and use.
2. Download Android APK files
APK is the file extension associated with Android application. Instead of heading out to Google Play and installing the applications directly, what we need to do is download the installation package file separately. Apkmirror is one such source which curates .apk files covering almost all Android application, and it is by far one of the least risky way to sideload an Android app.
Just for convenience sake, we would suggest you gather all the .apk files you need in a single folder.
3. Start using ARC Welder to sideload and run Android apps
After you arm yourself with the apps, all you need to do is head to the Chrome app launcher and click on the ARC welder icon. The ARC Welder has a clutter free UI which includes a “Add your APK” button. Clicking on this will take you to the file manager where users can select the .apk file.
4. Configuring ARC Welder
Frankly speaking, there isn’t much tinkering to do as the settings are just about standard for all the apps. It takes into consideration your preferences, which includes the orientation )Landscape or Portrait mode), Form factor (The tablet mode seems to be the best as it scales up without any issues) and the permissions to access Clipboard.
5. Launching the app
So here is the moment of truth. Hit the “Launch App” button, and the app will open up in a fresh Window. The application will feature the same functionality as the Android counterparts. Not all of the apps run flawlessly, and there are some apps which completely fail to load. Another downside is that apps requiring the Google Play services won’t run.
Users will find it difficult to use Application which require functions that are touch intensive. We tried using applications like Slack which worked perfectly without any glitches. We hope that Google will soon start coming up with officially ported apps for the Chromebook which will give it a much needed productivity boost.