If you have a good memory you might just be able to recall ARC apps, Google’s (rather muted) initiative to get Android apps running on Chrome OS¹.
Over the past year or so the ARC project has appeared dead. Promised apps like Flipboard, Kindle and others never arrived. From looking at the Chrome Web Store you’d conclude the project had hit a dead end.
But it turns out there’s a reason why so few Android apps have been added to the Chrome Web Store.
It’s because Google Play is coming to Chromebooks.
Google Play Store on Chromebooks
You’ve got to love Reddit, because it’s there that this potentially awesome news bite surfaced.
Nothing hugely new there, you might think. After all, the ARC app project was announced ages ago, and there’s an Android apps section on the Chrome Web Store.
But inside the code commit is something new: reference to the Google Play Store.
Enable Android Apps to run on your Chromebook …Google Play Store – Over a million apps and games now available on your Chromebook.
The Google Play Store? Oh yes!
The code references a new option that will appear in the Settings section of Chrome OS. When turned on it lets you install Android apps on Chromebook from the Google Play Store.
You will have to “opt in” and agree to Google Play Terms and Services, but after this the complete Google Play Store, and more than ‘a million apps and games’, or so says the code reference, will be available to you on your Chromebook.
No more waiting for a wave of (largely mediocre) apps to be uploaded to the Chrome Web Store!
This feature could be something Google is planning to announce at Google I/O — and is likely to be part of its effort to keep Chrome OS attractive (and relevant) to users in the face of multi-window, desktop-style features arriving in Android N.
But it’s also possible that not every Chromebook currently available will support this, as some older, lower-powered Chromebooks struggle to run the Android Apps for Chrome that are already available — and some cannot run them at all.
¹ ARC apps could also run on Windows, Mac and Linux