New App Runs Android Apps In Chrome
The Chrome app store has never quite had the same levels of attention as its Android counterpart. In an effort to end this, Google is supporting users of the new app ARC Welder, which using Google’s App Runtime for Chrome (ARC) allows you to run .apks in the Chrome browser.
Arc Welder is designed to give app developers the ability to test their apps on Chrome or for regular users to take their favorite apps to desktop. Setting it all up is simple, you can download the app from here, select your .apk, specify orientation and form factor and it should bring up your app in a new window.
We ran several apps on Chrome OS, but AW is said to run on any PC, Mac, Linux, or Chromebook running Chrome Version 40+. As can be expected, Google Play Services does not currently work on all apps, however as this is a beta Google assures us that more support is on the way. It was also quickly discovered that input was limited to that of a mouse or trackpad, meaning apps that require multiple finger gestures are currently out of the question. Apps we found to be working included our own XDA forums app, IMDB and BBC News. We could not get Twitter to start which crashed upon opening.
Previous attempts to make app emulation a reality have never been widespread enough to make it past the point of power users and developers, however this new attempt supported by Google could be what is needed to populate the chrome app store with more and popular apps. These previous attempts include ARChon Runtime for Chrome which can be found on their SubReddit which along with guides also provides a spreadsheet for apps that will/won’t work.
Support for ARC Welder can be found in the developers section of the chrome site, where they give directions for setting up and running the app, enabling Play Services, as well as best practices for testing your apk. Whilst we certainly hope many developers will bring their apps across to the Chrome store, for many apps it could be seen as redundant. Apps that do not have browser equivalents will surely have a larger uptake, however on the other hand we could see the store fill with apps such as the complete works of King, the developers behind Candy Crush Saga, which whilst not being the kind of apps we hope to see will no doubt raise awareness and profile of the store which can only be a good thing.
Will this bring the chrome app store the attention it deserves? What Android apps would you like to see on Chrome? Leave a comment below!