If we start to see a torrent of pristine Android apps unexpected seem in a Chrome Web Store for Chromebooks, there’s a reason: Google has left mainstream with Android Runtime for Chrome (ARC), a company’s bid to captivate uber-apps like VLC to a Chrome OS platform.
Think of ARC as a element to a supposed “Chrome apps” or ”packaged apps” that debuted in 2013. But while a finished app competence be only a saved Web app, Google employees pronounced an app combined with ARC is some-more like a local pier of an Android app.
“Basically, we combined a plan to fill in some of a app gap, that has always been arrange of a ding on Chromebooks,” pronounced Josh Woodward, a product manager during Google. “As some-more and some-more Android tablets have come into a market, there have been many some-more nice, full-screen-sized apps. So we thought—this is kind of crazy—what if we could run an unmodified APK file, an Android app, on Chrome OS?”
When using on Chrome OS, a ARC app “thinks” that it’s using on an Android inscription or phone. But a ARC covering simply intercepts a call to an Android notification, for example, and replaces it with a analogous Chrome OS command. Google launched ARC final year as a beta, and a plan stays in beta—what with Google being Google. But ARC is now being some-more widely marketed instead of being seeded to developers on a select, one-by-one basis.
Users won’t need to worry about that apps are which—they’ll simply seem in a Chrome app store, as, well, apps. But if a lot of Android developers pointer on to pier their code, a series of apps we can run on your Chromebook could grow exponentially. “That’s a hope,” Woodward said.
VLC finally entrance to Chrome OS
One app that Chromebook users should acquire enthusiastically is VLC, a video-player app that promises to play only about each video record format around. Chrome OS plays only a tiny handful of video files natively, so VLC will be a good further to a Chromebook repertoire. VLC will substantially seem in a Chrome OS app store in a integrate of weeks, Woodward said.
Google showed us an early preview of a VLC app, and it ran but problems on new low-cost Chromebooks built on chips done by Rockchip. “We sent over a collection for them and said, ‘Try it,’ and it was like, ‘This is totally amazing!” Woodward said.
To date, only a few Android apps—including Evernote, Vine, Duolingo, and Sight Words—have done a burst to Chrome OS. Other “apps,” such as Dropbox, fundamentally indicate to their particular websites. Woodward pronounced that Google has been operative with eBook distributor OverDrive and Amazon’s Kindle on these new ARC apps, and hopes to land some-more developers as ARC’s recognition grows.
Will Chromebooks unexpected thrive dozens, if not hundreds of Android apps? Probably not overnight. Google faces a same problem as BlackBerry, Tizen and Windows Phone: Although corroborated by a high-profile developer, a marketplace for Chrome OS stays comparatively small, compared to a PC or even Android phones. In certain segments, however—commercial and education—Chromebooks are faring utterly well. Last July, for example, NPD pronounced that Chromebooks represented 40 percent of all blurb cover sales.
Chromebooks seem to be next formed on their capability as efficient, low-cost inclination to entrance a Web. And if they can run Android apps as well, they’ll turn a lot some-more useful.