Chromebook ❤️ Android

Android apps runs on ChromeOS!

Cedric Ferry
3 min readMay 15

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Disclaimer: this is not an official article from Google, this is my own opinions and thoughts.

ChromeOS: beyond web browsing

Chromebooks have been around since 2011. Initially, low-end and designed to run Chrome Browser, websites and chrome extensions. This has changed dramatically in the recent years.

Framework Chromebook

Chromebooks are running on much higher-end CPUs including Intel core series with large amount of RAM. Recently Framework made a model of their laptop with Chrome OS.

Linux Debian Terminal running on ChromeOS

ChromeOS gained great functionalities for developers like the Linux support (based on Debian) allowing web development and more.

PlayStore running on ChromeOS

ChromeOS is able to run Android applications, it offers the PlayStore. Apps can be downloaded just like on an Android phone or a tablet.
Oh one more thing, Android Studio is also available, so Android developers can use a Chromebook. I told you, it’s not just for the web browsing and Google Docs anymore.

Running apps on ChromeOS

Google did a great job in offering Android underlying platform on ChromeOS in 2016. The Play Store is well integrated and accessible through the shelf (the launcher bar at the bottom of the screen).
Any app can be installed and since users are connected with their gmail account, using the PlayStore is smooth.
Apps run fast and take advantage of the large screen, keyboard and touch pad in addition to the touch screen.

Another advantage is that users can start their journey on their phone and move to the Chromebook to continue on a larger, more comfortable screen.

Testing your app on ChromeOS

Chromebooks are equiped with large screens. With the current push from Google to improve Android for large screens (Android 12L, upcoming Pixel Tablet and Pixel Fold…) it’s a great time to test your app for large screens like Chromebook.

Developers can start by downloading their app from the PlayStore, just like on a phone. Hopefully you already handle configuration change and your app won’t crash, else you know you’ve got some work!

You can also side load APKs with ADB. To make that possible, you will have to enable developer mode. Then you will be able to reach the Chromebook via ADB over WiFi.

Developing Android apps on ChromeOS

First, enable the developer mode, then download Android Studio for ChromeOS and install Android Studio. Android Studio comes with an emulator. From here it’s just the Android Studio experience. As of May 2023, you will get Flamingo Patch 1 which is the latest stable version.

Android Studio and the emulator running on ChromeOS

Git versioning is handled by the Linux subsystem together with tons of useful commands for developers.

You don’t have a Chromebook around?

You can run Chrome OS in VirtualBox with the flex image, it’s a good opportunity to explore Chrome OS and test your app.

Conclusion

Now you know that your app runs beyond Android devices. Chrome OS offer a complete experience for Android Developers, including Android Studio. Make sure you test your app 😉. Thanks for reading through, as always if you liked this article, give it some claps 👏.

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Cedric Ferry

Android Developer Relation Engineer @ Google