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Google Play Store Arrives on the ASUS Chromebook Flip

Image credit francois beaufort

The Flip is the first to get Android apps

Access to the Google Play Store, and a world of  Android Apps, has begun rolling out to the ASUS Chromebook Flip.

The latest developer channel release of Chrome OS for the 10.1-inch convertible includes support for the Google Play Store.

If you have ASUS Chromebook Flip and want to join the fun you can easily switch to the developer channel.

This does have drawbacks: switching will scrub your device of files, etc and start afresh. Bugs and crashes should be expected on the developer channel. You trade stability for an early look at new features as they’re being developed.

After switching to dev you need to opt-in to Android apps access via Settings > Enable Android Apps to run on your Chromebook. 

How Well Does It Work So Far?

Early reports from social media users playing with Android apps on their flip is positive. The Play Store can be opened and browsed as usual, and you can sign-in with your Google account to install apps.

Not every app on the store is listed as compatible, and some don’t work as intended. The Play Store also treats Chromebooks as an Android 6.x tablet meaning apps only designed for phones are not available (e.g., Instagram), while some tablet apps have orientation issues (e.g., Snapchat) but others work much better than they did under the old ARC implementation (e.g., Skype,  Flipboard, and bunch of others).

‘Not every app on the store works as intended’

You can’t resize app windows (though some apps can have their orientation changed), and you can’t cycle through Android apps using the ALT+Tab shortcut.

Power management differences between Chrome OS and the Android runtime currently ‘pauses’ apps when you switch focus away from them (i.e. video stops playing, music stops playing, and so on).

See this Reddit thread for more on the feature, and check in to this mega thread if you have it and want to share which apps work/don’t work.

Schedules

‘the feature is only rolling out to a small number of devices’

Chrome OS 53 is the milestone that is, currently, set to bring Android apps to Chromebooks. The initial feature roll out targets a small number of Chromebooks.

But as the feature is widely tested, feedback gathered, and the feature improved it will begin to hit more devices through the developer channel. Once things are running well enough it will be added to stable builds, where all supported Chromebooks, boxes, bases and bits can take advantage of it.

Is your ASUS Chromebook Flip on the dev channel? Let us know your experience of using Android apps in the comments gap below.