Running Android Apps on Chrome OS: A New Milestone

by Ostatic Staff - Aug. 04, 2016

Long ago, in a post titled "Why It's Doubtful That Google Would Merge Chrome OS and Android," I disagreed with a story The Wall Street Journal posted suggesting that Chrome OS might disappear as a standalone entity and merge with Android. Soon after that, a Google for Work blog post titled "Chrome OS Is Here to Stay" stated that "...while we've been working on ways to bring together the best of both [Android and Chrome] operating systems, there's no plan to phase out Chrome OS."

Now, we're finally seeing something that many people have been waiting for: the ability to run Android apps on Chromebooks. Android apps are being made available now for a few selected Chromebooks.

Android apps arrived on Chromebooks in a heavy-handed way in June, but the developer channel was still buggy. Now, a new implementation has entered the beta channel with some much needed stability.

For now, Android apps and the Play Store are only available on the Acer R11, Asus Flip, and 2015 Chromebook Pixel Chromebook models. Still, we're seeing promise here.

Ever since Google introduced Android and Chrome OS several years ago, people have wondered about mergers between them.  Our bet, though, has remained that Chrome OS isn't going anywhere, and that is the case. But many users want useful Android apps on Chrome OS.

  Note that users may still run into some bugs. Google has noted that “the Play Store on Chromebooks is still in Developer Preview and some features may not work as intended.”

The real question is whether the ability to run Android apps will make Chromebooks more enticing. If so, we're likely to see this functionality spread out to many more than just three Chromebook models.