Alright, if you are someone who has previously used Google’s Chromebooks, then I don’t need to explain how these Chromebooks lack the latest applications which are by far very few to even think about. (I feel your pain :p)
Well, then this news should probably cheer you up because Google has finally decided to integrate Android Apps on Chromebooks. So, what this means is that you will be able to access any application in the Play store on your Chromebook. (Yay!)
But, here is the catch. As of now only the owners of the Asus Chromebook Flip will be able to test this feature via developer channel before it gets launched officially.
As of June/July 2016, support for Android apps would also be extended to Acer Chromebook R 11, Chromebook Pixel
If you currently own the Asus Chromebook Flip then you can access the Play Store by following the steps below.
- Open Settings >
- Click on About Chrome OS which is at the top of your screen
- More info >
- Tap on Change Channel >
- Select Dev Channel
After completing the above steps, you would be getting a couple of warning messages on the device. These warnings tell you that the dev channel which you just selected isn’t a stable version of the Chrome OS. This is just another way of saying that that current version is unstable and is prone to bugs and random OS crashes. If you are just fine with it then you can proceed further.
Once you get through these warning messages, you will be prompted to download and install the new update.
Okay! Here is the juicy part,
After you successfully installing the update, you will be able to find the Play Store Application icon in the app shelf, right down the screen. Click on it!
You will be presented the terms and conditions page and once you accept them you can start using Android Apps on your Chromebook.
The Good, Bad & the Bugs
One thing that we need to remember is that the Chromebook Flip isn’t really a powerful machine. It’s just a convertible Chromebook. In other words, its a laptop with hinges and touch screen allow you to fold it backwards and use it as a tablet.
So, most of the android apps which you install would work best in the tablet mode using touch. The reason behind this is simple; Android applications are designed to work on phones, tablets and are not practically optimized to work with keyboard and mouse functionalities.
You can be certain that 2D and non-graphic intensive applications would work without any issues. But, once you hop on to 3D games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, Geometry Wars 3, Minecraft: Pocket Edition and Modern Combat 5: Blackout things are likely to get buggy and frequent crashes may occur.
Most of the apps which rely on the device camera won’t function on your chromebook. Some of these applications won’t even install on your device.
All these bugs and compatibility issues arise only because your older chromebook wasn’t initially designed to run Android applications. So, in near future you can expect the newer Chromebooks to have hardware upgrades and Android Apps feature pre-installed.
Here is a list of Chromebooks that will be able to run Android Apps later in 2016/2017
You can access the complete list of supported devices here.
Finally, if you are planning on purchasing a Chromebook, make sure that it would support Android Apps.