Google is slowly rolling out compatibility with Android apps on Chromebooks and ChromeOS. Learn more about using Android Apps on a Chromebook and the Google Play Store. While Google’s ChromeOS is primarily an operating system based on a web browser, there are plenty of web-based games, office suites, email services, and other apps. The Google Play Store on Chromebook is big news because now there are many Android apps to run on Chromebooks! Soon almost all Chromebooks will be running Android apps.
Top Chromebooks that Run Android Apps
- Acer R11 – Stable Channel
- Acer R13 – Beta Channel
- Asus Flip – Stable
- Asus C301SA – Dev Channel
- Dell 13 – Dev
- Google Pixel 2 – Stable
- HP 11 G5 – Dev
- HP 13 G1 – Dev
- Lenovo Thinkpad 13 – Dev
- Samsung Chromebook 3 – Dev
Google Play Store on Chromebook
The Google Play Store is coming to a Chromebook near you. But for this to really make a major difference in how we use Chrome OS, it’s not only going to take the right apps but also the right Chromebook. There will soon be millions of tried and test Android Apps available for download. A few things to not about using Android Apps on a Chromebook:
- It is not an android emulator, it’s a native client application wrapper.
- Developers may not technically be “porting” apps, since they aren’t having to completely re-write the code as they would porting an iOS app to Android
- Not every app can be ported over.
- It is not an automatic process. It’s a manual one.
- Performance will not be good. Google’s NaCl implementations are super efficient, but honestly, there’s only so much you can do
Performance of Android Apps on Chromebooks
The performance of Android apps is getting better each month. On new Chromebooks, there will be no noticeable performance difference when running an Android app on a Chromebook.
How do you Run Android Apps on a Chromebook?
Currently, there are only certain Chromebooks, Chromeboxes, and Chromebases that will be able to install Android apps and run the Google Play Store. A range of factors, like processor type, GPU, and drivers can impact which Chromebooks can run Android apps efficiently and smoothly. Some Android Apps run particularly well on a Chromebook:
- Relay for Reddit – A reddit browsing app that.
- Google Keep
- Google Play Books – Swiping to change pages. Also supports offline downloading which is super nice.
- Google Play Music – Not sure if I like the app more than the website, but it definitely is more optimized for touch.
- Squid – Another notetaking app, similar to Keep. Since the app was basically designed for Android tablets, it runs quite well.
- Google Maps –
- Fallout Shelter – It’s been hit or miss.
Best Chromebooks to Run Android Apps
Not all Chromebooks can run Android apps. Google is slowly rolling out this feature across different Chromebooks. The Google Play Store is currently on the Developer Channel for the following Chromebooks:
- 10.1″ 1280 x 800 IPS Touchscreen.
- $249: 2GB RAM
- $279: 4GB RAM
- Rockchip RK3288 ARM processor.
- 16GB SSD. Flush Micro SD Slot.
- Aluminum body. Plastic 360-degree hinge.
- Avg. Battery: 9 hours
- Fanless: Yes
The Chromebook Flip is the perfect fusion of a tablet and a laptop. It can convert easily from laptop to a tablet mode and run Android apps. It’s small enough to be used comfortably as a tablet but large enough to be comfortable as a laptop. Asus Chromebook Flip has many interesting features in its compact and stylish design, including a HD camera, a 1280x 800 HD IPS display. The unique 360° on the Chromebook Flip hinge lets you use Chromebook Flip in an endless variety of ways, including laptop, tablet, stand and tent modes. View a review of the ASUS Chromebook Flip.
- 12.85″ 2560 x 1700 IPS Touchscreen.
- $999: Intel Core i5 Processor. 8GB RAM; 32GB SSD.
- $1,299: Intel Core i7 Processor. 16GB RAM, 64GB SSD. ($1,299)
- 2 x USB Type-C. Flush SD Card Slot.
- All-aluminum body. Backlit keyboard. Glass Trackpad. Google LED Light Bar.
- Avg. Battery: 12 hours
- Fanless: No
With Google Play apps we can finally stop saying this is a ridiculously over-priced device for a “glorified web browser”. If you have over a thousand dollars to spare and you want to get Android apps ASAP – or you just want a powerhouse – you can’t go wrong with the Pixel Chromebook made by Google. It is very pricey though but powered by one of the most powerful processors in a Chromebook. Intel’s latest 5th generation Core™ processor pushes app performance boundaries. Output beautiful HD video and transfer high-speed data through USB Type-C ports. Read a review of the Google Chromebook Pixel 2.
- 11.6″ 1366 x 768 IPS Touchscreen
- $279L 2GB RAM; 32GB SSD.
- $329: 4GB RAM; 32GB SSD.
- Plastic body. Some aluminum on the lid.
- Avg. Battery: 10 hours
- Fanless: Yes
The Chromebook R11 works better as a laptop than a tablet. It’s thicker and heavier than the Chromebook Flip (reviewed about) and may be less satisfactory in tablet mode (but runs Androis apps). The 360° hinge features dual-torque technology, so the panel is very easy to open, but locks in place when you tap, swipe and pinch on the touchscreen – for wobble-free touch control. The panel senses when you place it upside down for “tent mode”, prompting the image and audio channels to flip over automatically. This is a very useful feature of the Acer Chromebook Flip. Review a review of the Acer Chromebook R11 here.