We’ve already seen how Android can be run on a PC or Mac via the BlueStacks app, and with the official App Runtime for Chrome extension having recently brought this power to Chrome OS, we got a glimpse into a future where the search giant’s mobile and desktop operating systems join forces. The fact that it was limited to Chrome OS and only worked with certain apps was a bit of a bummer, mind, and so it has taken the dogged work of a hacker to give App Runtime for Chrome its customary license to roam. Thanks to the endeavors of this one individual, Android can now essentially be run on any desktop OS where the Chrome browser is present, and although it’s a little rough around the edges, it’s nonetheless very exciting.
The developer in question goes by the moniker “Vladikoff,” and whereas the original release of App Runtime for Chrome, or ARC, supported only four apps, the modified edition known as ARChon can run just about any of the million-plus apps gracing the Play Store.
As aforementioned, it’s quite an unrefined, if not shoddy experience, and one that you’d perhaps expect given that Vladikoff has only spent the past week working on the whole thing. But thanks to ARC, a Google project that permits the Chrome Web browser to run native code, ARChon has already been born, and by side-loading ARChon into Chrome, users can enjoy – or at least attempt to enjoy Android apps loaded directly into the famed surfing client.
APK, the extension for apps running on Android, must be converted to Chrome-friendly extensions in order to have any hope at all of running via the browser, but Vladikoff’s ‘chromeos-apk’ tool takes care of this side of things.
Once you’ve installed a few other prerequisite extensions and enabled Developer Mode, you too could be running Android via Chrome, although you’re likely to experience many crashes and a number of bugs. ARChon is a hacked version of what is still a beta project in ARC, and thus, don’t expect to be playing Angry Birds or using Facebook with any sort of smooth, Android-esque fluidity.
Still, this is a very cool little trick, and given the universal amalgamation of desktop and mobile ecosystems, perhaps foreshadows a world where Android runs through the Chrome browser as a matter of standard procedure.
You can get started by pointing your browser to this link.