Android apps on your linux (+chrome) box


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This is a fairly simple tutorial on how to get your favorite android apps running on your Linux (or Windows, or Mac) boxen. Please note that not every android apps is compatible with ARC. Some apps are specific to certain framework such as Samsung’s TouchWiz or HTC’s Sense, and those that requires Google Play Service most likely will not work. Lastly, running ARC  outside ChromeOS itself may cause some compatibility problems.

What you need:

  • A fairly recent chrome browser installation that supports App Runtime for Chrome (or ARC)
  • Storage space to keep your .apks
  • ..and the apk files for your android apps

Now, on to the steps:

  1. First, install chrome. This step should be fairly simple, right? After chrome is installed, start a chrome session, go to menu > More tools > Extensions. on the upper right corner, you’ll find a checkbox for “Developer mode”. Make sure it’s checked

    More tools
    More tools
  2. Get ARC Welder from Chrome Web Store. The first time you run ARC welder, it will prompt you to define writable folder to store unpacked apk files. Do so.

    Arc
    Install ARC Welder
  3. Hit the + button on ARC welder to add an apk file. It will ask you to determine whether the app will be loaded as in portrait or landscape, and whether it will be treated as phone or tablet app.

    Load the APK
    Load the APK

If nothing goes wrong, your android app should start immediately

The steps above only allows one app to be loaded at the time. The next time you fire up ARC Welder and add a different apk, you’ll be prompted to allow chrome to remove the previously added android app. To get around that, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Load a new apk to ARC Welder, it will ask you to remove the app that is currently loaded. Do so
  2. Open a Chrome browser window, go to Menu > More tools > Extensions
  3. Press the “Load unpacked extensions”. Navigate to the folder that you have selected for ARC Welder to find the folder for the previously loaded apk. Select the folder to add it to the list of chrome apps/extensions.

    Extension page
    Extension page
  4. Open Chrome App Launcher. You should be able to find and launch the app from there
    launcher
    launcher

    You should now be able to load multiple android apps 😀

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