If you want to run Android apps in Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X you’re in luck. This is being seen by many as a large step for combining Android apps and Chrome OS, and it is, but it also gives a chance to dream about what could be if Windows could easily run Android apps.
To use Android apps in Chrome on the aforementioned range of operating systems, all you’ll have to do is download the ‘ARC Welder’ Chrome extension, and you’ll also need the APK file of the Android app you wish to run. Some apps may be better suited for working within Chrome either from a development or need standpoint. Popular games could be blast within Chrome while other apps may not be as useful but the concept of universal Google apps is key here. The Verge points out that this program is likely a forerunner to many Android apps coming to the Chrome Web Store.
Universal apps are great and will probably help Google but let’s take a moment to think about Windows users. This means that popular games that have yet to make the leap to the Windows Store could (can currently but in the future may be more optimized) be played on Windows 2 in 1 devices.
(Android app Feedly running in semi-fullscreen mode within Google Chrome)
There are some limitations though since the apps are opening in a browser and not as separate applications. For example, banking applications wouldn’t be able to do mobile check deposit since according to Tom Warren, trying to open the camera from an app within Chrome crashes the app instantly. The apps can’t be set to run in proper full-screen either, although you do get to choose whether you want them to run in smartphone or tablet mode. Getting apps to run isn’t 100% guaranteed though and ones that require Google Play Services will not work. Also, there’s no touch support, so you’ll be limited to using the mouse and keyboard.
Down the line, if things go right, this could actually be a boost to Windows and Google. It would expand Google’s reach and give Windows devices access to more apps. Let us know whether you would interested in running Android apps in Google Chrome.