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Want to Install Windows Software on a Chromebook? You Soon Can

And it's all thanks to Android

Do you miss having your favourite Windows applications on your Chromebook? Well, miss no more…

CrossOver is a piece of software that lets you install and run Windows software on Mac and Linux — and now it’s coming to Android.

CodeWeavers, the development company behind the tool, have tested it out on an Intel-based Chromebook that support the Play Store.

And guess what? It works!

“We were able to install the Steam Client into CrossOver for Android and run LIMBO and other games,they write.

“We have DirectX 9 support, keyboard support, mouse support, and sound support today! People, we are staring at a Leprechaun riding on the back of a Unicorn while taking a picture of a UFO. We are running CrossOver through Android on a ChromeBook running a Windows based game launched from the Steam client.”

By running Windows software through the Android layer on Chrome OS (keep up!) you can install apps like Steam, Firefox and more on a Chromebook.

Yes, on a Chromebook.

There’ll naturally be drawbacks, performance issues and incompatibilities, just as there are on CrossOver for Linux. But when you think about what it means it’s a killer combination, one poised to open up a world of flexibility to Google’s Chromebooks.

CrossOver for Android is not yet released, but the company is eagerly recruiting willing testers. Want to get involved? Hit up the company’s blogpost for full details.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Huh… running iTunes, Android Studio and various toolkits meant for Android devices (ADB/Fastboot, Xperia Flashtool, Kies, Odin) would be quite amazing

    • dave

      iTunes never runs properly in WINE or PlayonLinux for me, haven’t ever tried it with Crossover though.

      • sonicyoof

        iTunes doesn’t run properly in OSX or Windows, either.

        • Tomfoolery

          Ba doom tish!

  • Cristian Otegui

    Microsoft debería desarrollar aplicaciones específicas para Chrome OS, ahora que está creciendo su uso.

  • VoxelNerd

    Will this work on ARM chromebooks

    • Kawshik Ahmed

      nope

    • powermatt

      Nope. Since Windows software is x86 based, ARM is out of the question.

  • Tim Richardson

    Running emulated windows under emulated Android …. what could go wrong?

    • Kawshik Ahmed

      Android is not actually emulated, it is running simultaneously with Chrome OS inside a container.

    • ollie

      Windows also isn’t emulated
      crossover is based of WINE and WINE is an acronym meaning Wine Is Not an Emulator.
      So performance will not be affected by it being in a virtual machine. The question is what dlls and programs they can manage to get running.

    • daveee11

      android is not emulated in ChromeOS. its running native.

      not sure about crossover but it looks like its not emulated either.

      so you are wrong at multiple levels

    • Alex Ohannes

      You are wrong on both levels, but not by much. Both WINE and the Android capabilities of Chromebooks are made possible by compatibility layers. It’s not emulation, but it’s not truly native. Various accommodations and translations are made in software to allow an unmodified piece of software built for a specific platform to run on another platform. Making modifications to that software is often ideal though to improve compatibility and performance, and is done to every Android app on Chromebook (they are compiled in a different way than they are on Android when being installed). Windows itself has tons of compatibility layers. The average person uses them and doesn’t even know it! If you are using a 32bit application on a 64bit version of Windows, then you are using a simple and unobtrusive and very efficient compatibility layer. This is so efficient though because the CPUs themselves are backwards compatible, hence why no compatibility layers are required when running a 32bit version of Windows on a 64bit CPU.

  • Keith Ho

    Since no Chromebook have any video cards and have weak processors, what’s the point of running Steam?

    • Daeveren

      You know, there are games out there that don’t have 3D graphics. Arguably, some of the most successful indie games are 2D and so are most of the indie games, still.
      But that was not the point. You can now run Windows apps on your Android device (or Chromebook) and this is a huge deal!

      • Mi Pen

        You are better off just waiting for the Android stuff to arrive on Chromebook if you want 2D and basic 3D games.

    • aslong as TFC2 works? I would be a happy ‘camper’ :-) And it probably would.

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      but Core i3/i5/i7 Chromebooks tho

      • Slowpoke

        Honestly, I can’t see the point of i7 machines with such a limited OS.

        • Geoffrey Stentiford

          Well, it’s not so limited anymore…

          • Slowpoke

            Yes, Chrome OS has advanced and now it can run Android apps. However, neither OS is for doing serious work. This new app will help, though, but is far from ideal (the ideal thing would be having complex native apps, think about the full-fledged Office suite with Visual Basic support, including Access and other specialised software).

          • Geoffrey Stentiford

            Well, Chrome OS​ was powerful from the start, if you knew how to use Linux. I managed to get Nodejs, GNU nano, and the RPM package manager on Chrome OS before the whole Android apps craze.

          • Slowpoke

            I didn’t know that was possible. Thanks.

          • Stellanatus

            Chrome having access to android means we can expect more heavier games come to the market. Something Nexus Player tried. My question to you is why stay with an older platform like windows thats riddled with problems and viruses?

          • Slowpoke

            Every platform has its benefits and drawbacks. And you are not forced to use only one of them.
            And it all depends on the form factor. I love Android on smartphones, but I don’t like the idea of using it on a desktop (for now).

          • Nena Chavana

            i agree

  • Someone please test this with the Windows version of Android Studio. If it works… yeah, developers’ dilemma solved.

    • Jimmy Stein

      +1

  • This is sick! (as in sadistic :P )

  • Jim

    Quicken?

  • Dan Gul

    Steam would be great if one can get the Streaming feature going. That alone would make Steam worth having…that and the lower rez games they offer if it can run under CX/Wine

    • Degru

      IMO Steam should just add streaming capability to their Android app, and make it work on ChromeOS and Android TV. But then again, gotta sell the Steam Link somehow…

  • Waethorn

    Wait….is M53dev now out for Chromebook R11’s? When did that happen?

    • person

      A couple days ago.

  • Stephen Gale

    SSD size is still going to be an issue until they allow access to external media to the Android Apps.

  • Just_Joe

    I’m looking forward to running Android apps on my Chrome OS devices, but not so I can run any Windows programs. I do expect, though, that this will be of serious interest to more than a few enterprises that run Windows merely so they can run one or two specific programs. I think these businesses will be the real target for CodeWeavers.

    • Mike

      I’m kind of with you on this. I’m more exited about the prospect of having just a Chromebook and not needing a tablet for a few specific apps that I keep the tablet around for. However, I’m one of those people who has to keep a windows partition on my Linux laptop for the one program I can’t get to run in WINE. I would love to ditch Windows all together but probably won’t be able to for a while. Anyway, this is still encouraging news.

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