How to run Android applications in Google Chrome web browser

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Archon IconA Linux-based operating system from Google called Chrome OS contains App Runtime for Chrome platform that allows users of Chromebooks and Chromeboxes to run Android apps natively on their computers.

The stand-alone Chrome web browser doesn't support this feature, but a developer named Vlad Filippov programmed plugin for Chrome, based on Chrome OS App Runtime that enables users to run Android apps in Chrome for any operating system.



How to install ARChon to Google Chrome

At first you need to install Filippov's extension for Chrome called ARChon, which is available on his GitHub web pages.

Download ZIP archive with ARChon for your version of Chrome. Unpack it to any directory on your hard drive.

Archon on GitHub

Open Chrome → Click on Options button in right upper corner → Select Settings option

Chrome Settings

Select Extensions option in left menu → Check Developer mode box and Click on Load unpacked extension... button

Chrome Load unpackaged extensions

Select directory with ARChon add-on and wait a few seconds till the Chrome install it.

Now your Chrome web browser is prepared to launch apps for Android. The testing app is also available on ARChon's GitHub site.

Android apps to Chrome can be installed by the same instructions as ARChon. In Chrome these are identified as extensions.

Chrome with running Android app

Android apps compatible with official Chrome OS App Runtime are little bit customized by their developers and cannot be downloaded directly from Google Play Store or other Android apps stores. Only a couple of customized apps are officially available, like the Evernote, Duolingo etc.

ARChon plugin can be used also on Chrome OS to replace original Chrome OS App Runtime platform, but ARChon is still in testing versions and its developers are not assuming any responsibility for problems caused by ARChon.

Some modders created a large list of customized Android applications together with links for download, feedbacks and other related information. You can find it here. The list is updated on daily basis.

Android apps compatible with Chrome

How to customize Android app for Google Chrome

If your favorite app is not included in the list, you can try to modify it by yourself.

First you need to download application. You can use for example the  APK Downloader on-line service that allows you to download *.apk file from Play Store, or find *.apk file with app on alternative file repositories, etc.

Download chromeos-apk tool from GitHub and unpack it to any directory that you want.

In chromeos-apk directory is stored _template subfolder → copy it to another place on your storage.

Download *.apk file with application that you want to transform for Chrome, for example from Play Store with APK Downloader on-line tool

APK Downloader

Open app detailed description on Play Store → copy URL and paste it to APK Downloader in our case Facebook Messenger app (com.facebook.orca.apk)

Facebook Messenger for Android on Play store

Copy downloaded *.apk file to:

_template/vendor/chromium/crx/ subdirectory

Rename _template directory to same name as *.apk file. In our case to "com.facebook.orca".

Open manifest.json file with text editing tool stored in the renamed _template directory.

Add application package name to "ApkList" line (com.facebook.orca.apk)

Edit manifest.json file

Add application package name to the "packageName" line (com.facebook.orca)

Edit manifest.json file

Add application regular name to the "name" line (com.facebook.orca).

Edit manifest.json file

In some versions of template manifest file can be found line key with long random string. If you find key line with string delete it.

Save the manifest.json file.

The last, but not important thing that you can do is to change app icon. Download icon in PNG format with 128x128 resolution and replace with it icon.png file stored in _template directory.

Facebook Messenger for Android running in Google Chrome

Now your app is prepared to be imported to Google Chrome. However some Android apps may still have problems when run in Chrome browser and it's better to run only tested apps from the list of compatible applications.


Related software and links:

ARChon for Chrome icon

ARChon for Chrome    Multiplatform platform
Extension for Google Chrome that allows users to run Android apps

Chromium icon

Chromium    Microsoft Windows platform
Open source web browser from Google

Chromium for Linux icon

Chromium for Linux    Linux/Unix platform
Linux version of popular open source web browser

Chromium for Mac icon

Chromium for Mac    Apple macOS / Mac OS X platform
Mac version of the popular open source web browser

Chromium OS icon

Chromium OS    Linux/Unix platform
A pure web thin client operating system

Google Android icon

Google Android    Google Android platform
One of the most popular OS for mobile systems

Google Chrome icon

Google Chrome    Microsoft Windows platform
A popular Internet browser from Google

Google Chrome for Linux icon

Google Chrome for Linux    Linux/Unix platform
Linux version of the popular web browser from Google

Google Chrome for Mac icon

Google Chrome for Mac    Apple macOS / Mac OS X platform
Mac version of the popular web browser from Google

Google Chrome OS icon

Google Chrome OS    Linux/Unix platform
An operating system for Chromebook computers


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