Earlier in the year, Google had announced that it was working on bringing Android app compatibility to ChromeOS. However, developer Vlad Filippov has gone one step further. He has tweaked Google’s Android Runtime extension to enable Android apps to be installed as Chrome browser extensions on Windows, Linux, and Mac.
Here are the quick steps to get started with ARChon runtime, which lets you run unlimited number of Android APKs on Chrome browser.
- Download ARChon from here.
- Extract the contents.
- Open Chrome extensions tool and enable ‘Developer mode’.
- Click on ‘Load unpacked extension’ and select the extracted instance of ArChon from Step 2.
- Find the modified APK for ARChon from the web or download the APK and follow the instructions here to modify a new APK.
- Extract the APK contents.
- Click on ‘Load unpacked extension’ and load the APK.
- Now, click on ‘Launch’ to start the app.
If you’re confused, check out the video demonstration below.
ARChon currently has several major limitations. The biggest is that it’s not automated, and the entire process has way too many steps for a casual user. It requires obtaining and modifying the Android app package (APK), which is not straight forward. It also doesn’t work for all apps. However, the Reddit community has been actively testing various apps. A small list of compatible apps and their direct download links is available here. Currently, there are better and easier ways to run Android apps on your desktop. However, this development is still exciting as it hints towards a future where all Chrome users might have access to the millions of Android apps available on the Play store.