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This Hack Lets You Run Any Android App on Your Chromebook

It’s barely been a week since Google announced the first crop of Android apps to run on Chrome OS. Now, a hack that allows virtually any Android app to be installed has been detailed.

Using a small JavaScript script, the hack, which is detailed in full on GitHub, allows any regular Android APK to be packaged up and, for want of a better term, side-loaded onto a Chromebook. It can then be run under the Android App Runtime in the same way as the ‘official’ Vine, Dulingo and Evernote. 

Restrictions mean that only one Android app can be run at a time.

Try It Out

If the thought of waiting for Google to partner up with the maker of your favourite app, game or utility is too much to bear, you could don your hard hat and try it out for yourself.

But be warned: it’s not a guide for the fainthearted or the technically averse. The developer behind the hack, , cautions that his tool is for ‘proof of concept’ and is provided without any kind of warrant or assurance. The hack is also not endorsed by Google, Chromium or Android.

To follow along you’ll need a Chromebook with the Android Runtime plugin installed, the Android Vine app (which will be replaced during the course of the guide) and an OS X or Linux desktop from which to ‘package’ your app.

Applications tested and said to be working include Twitter, both tablet and mobile modes, and Flipboard (which was demoed running on a Chromebook at Google I/O).

Other apps tested but that crash include Google Chrome for Android (!), Spotify, SoundCloud and Swing Copters.

You can find more details and a download for the script on the project’s GitHub page, linked below.

‘Run Android APKs on Chromebooks’ Guide

  • Sean Lumly

    This is very interesting indeed. It seems as though the Chrome Web Store is about to get folded into Google Play, and just as apps are separated by device and type, so to may these apps be separated that are ChromeOS compatible.

    The library of ChromeOS is set to get much larger, but I wonder how well this will work. All in all, I feel it will be for the best, but I am genuinely curious how smoothly this feature will be implemented.

    • Ike

      Did you try this hack out yet? If so can you help me set it up on my HP chromebook 14?

      • Sean Lumly

        Sorry, I have not implemented it, and can give no more guidance than the link to the instructions.

  • Kenny Strawn

    I wonder if anyone has tried using this hack on a Play Store APK copied from a rooted Android device…

  • Got KIK messenger running, super easy to do everything from a chromebook running linux.

  • Mitchell Cipriano

    I hope this will work with the Android version of Skype. Does anyone know?

    • vladikoff

      Hey, Skype is a bit tricky. It seems like get stuck on accessing some mobile network modules.

      Here are some tested apps: https://github.com/vladikoff/chromeos-apk#tested-apps

      • Mark Dodsworth

        @disqus_7id71UnYhk:disqus Can you try to run some full games please like Minecraft and GTA? Will do this on all the kids Chromebooks if Minecraft works.

        • Alucard291

          honestly while it would be cool to run games – unless you have a touchscreen chromebook you will struggle to run touchscreen apps especially ones requiring multitouch. So things like skype and suchlike are a better bet.

          • João Victor Schiavo

            So we have to test games that have joystick compatibility. :P

          • Alucard291

            haha sure :D

    • vladikoff

      Actually Skype works with an older version, use 5.0.0.51733 from
      http://www.androiddrawer.com/20511/download-skype-free-im-video-calls-app-apk/

  • Mobile_Dom

    How has no one tried Skype yet?

    I know Hangouts is a great tool, i use it daily, but for somethings, you just need skype

  • ForSquirel

    This is sweet.. no to just figure out what I want to run!

    Also, just curious. Since this replaces vine when installed if you were to install all 4 available apps onto chrome could you switch those out with your own and run 4 different apps?

  • duke1

    There shouldn’t be a hack to run android apps on a Chromebook. It should run them out-of-the-box. Make it official, Google!

    • They’re still working on it, that kind of functionality will come, but it will take some time.

    • Game Master

      it is offical but you need to put the games in chrome mode and have a a;pp it runs through and archon runtime they are all apps desined for chrome so its not hacking… ubuntu now thats a hack

      • duke1

        Then again, you’re replying to my 6 month old post.

        • Game Master

          yah but i thought others would view the post

        • Game Master

          yah i realised not so long ago

          • duke1

            1. Stop spamming me with useless comments
            2. WHY WOULD ANYBODY CARE?!?!
            If you reply to me again regarding this old topic I’ll flag your post.

  • Clash of Clans? Somebody?

    • Yeah, Any body got clash of clans working, and well how do you get clash if it does work

  • Sonos would be great!

  • Richard Hooper

    I have tried Skype, but it just stays at signing in and does not log in. Any one got it working who could upload it?

    • Richard Hooper

      seems it does not like Microsoft accounts!!!

      Standard skype accounts are fine.

      • Sean Lumly

        That’s great to know!

    • Petra Kowalski

      could you send me the skype file? i dont get it created on ubuntu for my chromebook..
      (roedelkroete@me.com)

  • hoosiercub88

    Damn Spotify is one I was hoping for to make listening to music on my Chromebook more my style.

  • Ohhhhhconnor

    Has anyone tried office mobile?

    • João Victor Schiavo

      I tried, but couldn’t make it work (I’m a noob btw).

    • Robert Richardson

      why office mobile when Windows offers office for chrome?

  • Alucard291

    Well nobody’s going to complain about lacking skype on chromeos anymore :P

    At least nobody who can read the numerous guides that will spring up after this :)

  • Now let’s get it on Chrome Browser. @disqus_7id71UnYhk:disqus I am impressed with you Github contributions. How do you keep up with it?

    • Gavin Engel

      I’d love to be able to run Netflix in Fedora Linux.

  • João Victor Schiavo

    Can someone try the OnLive app? I can’t make it work. D:

  • João Victor Schiavo

    Haha, look what I’ve got working:
    http://i.imgur.com/t46KiZ7.png

    :P

    • LiamTHX

      Hm. I was expecting a picture of Skype.

      • João Victor Schiavo
        • LiamTHX

          WHOA
          Btw, does it need Developer Mode to run? It said something about terminals in the instructions

          • Robert Richardson

            Thats a great question i hope some one graces you with a response. i would assume you do because chrosh is pretty much worthless

  • João Victor Schiavo

    Skype also works, but not with Microsoft accounts, only “pure” Skype accounts:
    http://i.imgur.com/4WL1StA.png

  • Christopher Woodhouse

    I have Vine running perfectly on my Samsung Chromebook. Waiting for the Google apps (especially Google Now and Earth) with baited breath. Considering how the greatest argument against Chromebooks by the Scroolgers was the absence of native/offline apps…

  • Steph

    I’m moving to Japan soon to teach English and need to be able to use LINE (a messenger made by Naver) and Skype on my Chromebook. If someone could package those apps for me, I’d appreciate it very much. stspeck@umflint.edu

    • Alinnior

      you can run skype natively on a chromebook through a linux distro.. if you dont want to replace your chrome os or a regular dual boot you can use a thing called crouton.. theres a tutorial here http://www.howtogeek.com/162120/how-to-install-ubuntu-linux-on-your-chromebook-with-crouton/ it is pretty easy to set up and then to install skype its as simple as looking up the couple commands that can be copy and pasted to install skype.. not sure if the skype on linux is compiled to work on arm based hardware like the samsung chromebook though but if you have a celeron or i series intel processor in your chromebook you will be fine

    • x2l2

      i try to install line trought Archon Packager but it get stuck when try to login , there was a web version of line but it stop working in 2012

    • Kristen Horan

      this should help

  • ShoarmaBroodje12

    how do you chose a app to run.

  • Ekaette S. Atakpo

    im trying, but i cant seem to get it right

  • how can i get clash of clans

    • Game Master

      wait for update after 7.1.1

  • dfdfdf

    can u get clash of clans with this

    • Game Master

      yes

  • hjfcfo

    Tried this for the Sonos app but it failed to work.

  • Michelle V

    clash of clans

    • Game Master

      you need to wait for an update currently 7.1.1 but you need the one after but it hasent been updated yet

  • Michelle V

    how can i play cjash of clans on my Chrome OS? HELP??? i have twerk and evernote already

  • Game Master

    hey this works but clash of clans works only evry other update and minecraft needs to run at low update or next update and you cant save game data unles its a game that has you email regester but anyway it still works for the most part but some games cant use wasd or up down left right to controll caricter if anyone knows how to fix the controller then please tell me. Also get ARCon runtime insted of offical runtime it loads faster.

  • vajdan

    Does the android apps run better on chromebooks with ARM processors when compared to Intel ones?? .. Given that the apps were designed to work with ARM processors in the first place .

  • JustJayvee

    How can I install clash of clans on chromebook? I searched in youtube and I need to unstall ARCHON. Can anyone please help me with this? I also don’t know which ARCHON I need to install because i’ve tried to install all of them one by one but COC still didn’t work. Please help mee.