Run Android Apps In Chrome With ARC Welder Extension

Mobile / Tech

The lines between Android and Chrome OS are blurring even more with the release of the ARC Welder extension that lets you run Android Apps in Chrome. The App Runtime for Chrome (ARC) is currently a Developer Preview meant to allow developers to test their apps, however anyone can install the extension and with the right tools (APK share apps in particular) can install an APK on their PC, Mac, Chromebook, or Linux computer using the Chrome browser, as long as it is version 40 or higher.

Google has included some useful tips for developers, and also mentions that not all Google Play Services are supported yet. The available APIs that are working include:

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

Of course being the tech tinkerers that we are, we quickly installed the extension and tested out a few APKs. The process is very easy: simply click on the Apps tab on your Chrome bookmark bar to launch ARC Welder. After the extension launches, you can select an APK from your local drive to test. Once it begins to load you are given options for orientation, form factor, clipboard access, OAuth Client ID, and other metadata. After choosing your options, simply launch the app and away you go – hopefully. As this is a beta product, not all apps will work – and as we mentioned above – this is a Developer Preview for developers to use to test their apps out so your mileage will vary.

We were unable to get apps like Crossy Road and Monument Valley to run and Google Calendar did load but crashed after the intro screens. Everyone’s favorite, Flappy Bird, ran with no issues as did Angry Birds Stella, and Xbox One SmartGlass. Apps which require additional downloads like Simpsons: Tapped Out don’t work at the moment either. Even though it’s only a Beta version and Developer Preview, it is certainly showing some promise.


I still suck at Flappy Bird, even on the desktop!

What do you think about being given the ability to run Android apps in Chrome? Let us know in the comments below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

  Source: Chrome Developer
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