Android apps have arrived on Chrome OS. Proper now they are often run on three Chromebook models, a quantity that may improve throughout the remainder of 2016 and into the beginning of 2017 (Google has a full list). To save lots of you the wait, we acquired maintain of an Asus Chromebook Flip to point out you ways the Android expertise works on a Chromebook.
First, relying on while you’re doing this and which Chromebook you’re utilizing, you could have to place your Chromebook into developer or beta mode. To do that, go to About Chrome OS within the Settings pane, then click on Extra information and Change channel. Choose the developer channel, the least steady.
After a fast restart you’ll be able to go. A brand new Play Retailer icon seems within the launcher and on the underside shelf subsequent to all the standard net app shortcuts, and after you affirm you comply with Google’s phrases and check in together with your account you can begin downloading apps.
Searching and putting in apps is way the identical as it’s on a cellphone, with clicks changing faucets, except you might have a touchscreen Chromebook just like the Flip. The standard Chrome OS notification bar exhibits which apps are putting in and which of them want updating. When an app is put in, it seems within the launcher like every of the common net apps, and may be pinned to the shelf as nicely.
Most Android apps launch in a cellphone screen-sized window. You’ll be able to maximize the window in case you like, however loads of apps don’t like this a lot and develop into extra unstable because of this. Bear in mind that is nonetheless early, beta check days for Android apps on Chrome OS. Many can merely change to pill mode, whereas some apps have an additional menu button that allows you to manually change between Portrait and Panorama modes.
We have been in a position to get Dots & Co and Snapchat up and operating, although sadly Apple Music introduced up the message “Your machine isn’t appropriate with this model.” The identical message appeared for Instagram. Spotify has an honest net interface however we put in the Android app anyway, and located it functioned completely nicely, even all the way down to caching playlists for offline listening.
Whereas we anticipate builders add the entire crucial tweaks and edits to their apps, that is nonetheless a reasonably buggy expertise, with apps sometimes crashing and simply not working correctly. We seen a variety of apps crashed or paused when different apps (or web sites) have been loaded up alongside them.
Typically, although, the apps run precisely as they’d in your cellphone, and even at this early stage it’s a reasonably pure and intuitive expertise. It’s like having one other Android cellphone to your title, with a full-sized keyboard and display, and no mobile connection.
Notifications seem inline with different Chrome OS notifications, which works nicely, and a few (like Hangouts) even have the identical interactive notifications which are accessible on Android units (so you’ll be able to reply to a message with out having to open up the app).
In the meantime on the prime left of each window is a Again button that works precisely just like the Again button on Android. Clearly the Residence and Overview buttons aren’t wanted.
Within the Chrome OS settings, there’s a brand new hyperlink for Android preferences that takes you to a restricted model of the acquainted Android Settings app (it lists 6.0.1 because the model quantity). You’ll be able to change notification settings, uninstall apps, verify the accessible storage, and never a lot else.
It does make you concentrate on which apps that is going to work finest for although: clearly for Fb, Twitter, Google Docs and so forth, the web sites in Chrome OS are superior to the cellular apps. And for the apps constructed particularly for cellular—Snapchat, Instagram, Uber—the Chromebook expertise is basically pointless.
What does that depart? Video games, clearly, in addition to productiveness apps that can provide your Chromebook extra offline performance. Plus any form of messaging or phrase processing app the place a bodily keyboard is useful (and the place an internet interface isn’t accessible).
General, even at this fledgling stage, the entire Android-on-Chrome-OS expertise works somewhat nicely and higher than we anticipated—the indicators are good for when the characteristic rolls out for everybody later this 12 months.