Similarly to how Google experimented with augmented reality using Tango and ARCore, the company has gone through multiple phases of getting Android applications working on Chrome OS devices. At first it was going to just to require Chrome with a platform they were calling ARC using the ARC Welder extension. But the company decided to change direction as that method made things more complicated than how they’ve implemented Android applications into Chromebooks.
Once a better solution was figured out, the company started to test compatibility on a very limited number of Chromebooks. Even to this day, the number of Chrome OS devices that can run these Android applications is pretty limited. Some have these capabilities built into the stable channel of Chrome OS while others require you to shift to the beta or developmental channel. Then there are some which are still in the planning phase and support looks to be a long way out right now.
As more and more Chromebooks launch with support and receive an update to include this feature, more people will be able to use Android applications directly on a laptop or desktop experience. Sometimes an application works fine on those devices but other times it results in a poor user experience. To help improve these conflicts, Google has published a new blog post that offers some suggestions about how to optimize your Android application for Chromebooks.
The first tip talks about improving discoverability in the Play Store by updating the manifest to declare whether or not your device requires a touchscreen, GPS, and other sensors. They also recommend supporting Android’s multi-window features so Chromebook customers can multitask with your application without running into issues. There’s also some changes that you can make to your application for optimizing application orientation for Chromebooks, supporting multiple input methods and more.