In our latest video, Facundo Holzmeister goes hands-on with Android apps and the Play Store on Chrome OS using the Chromebook Flip. I've used the Flip's Android apps a fair bit now, and I have to say, while the experience is buggy, it does hold a lot of promise. Our video hands-on should give you a better idea of what the whole thing looks and feels like, as well as some of Facundo's thoughts on how things are progressing. For now, things do break, some don't work, and others just feel oddly out of place - but the things that do work often work well, and it's hard not to be excited about the future of Android apps on Chrome OS.
It might surprise you to learn that the Android Police staff does not work on a series of networked Chromebook Pixels connected to Google's sentient God-Cloud. Nope, most of us use Windows for daily posting and other general tech stuff. So it's awfully interesting that Microsoft is making a push to bring Android apps to its various Windows platforms starting with the upcoming Windows 10. At today's Build 2015 developer keynote, Microsoft said that devs will be able to "reuse nearly all the Java and C++ code from an Android phone app to create apps for phones running Windows 10.”
You can now use at least some Android apps as stand-alone Chrome extensions on your laptop or desktop, with a little bit of hacking. The handy Chrome APK Packager made that process much easier... at least until Google booted it off of the Play Store, presumably for a copyright violation. The creator of the tool, who goes by "bpear96" on XDA, said that he would have to change the name in order to keep the app on Google's playground. So now you can find the tool under the name ARChon Packager.
ARChon, of course, is the name of the desktop component that allows Chrome to load up Android apps.
Update: the app has been pulled from the Play Store, presumably because of the "Chrome" name. You can now find it under the name ARChon Packager.
Earlier this month, Google officially made it possible to run a handful of Android apps on Chrome OS. Hardly a week later, a developer came along and produced a means of running theoretically any Android app within Chrome on Windows, Mac, and Linux (including Chromebooks). However, the instructions were somewhat intimidating, so then someone else came along and produced an Android app that can take care of those bits for you.
The app is called Chrome APK Packager, and while it's currently still in alpha and as ugly as you would expect, it delivers on its promise of taking any of your installed apps and turning them into usable Chrome extensions.
Google has officially made it possible to run Android apps on Chrome OS devices, though the current implementation of this feature is a little underwhelming. First of all, it's limited to only a handful of apps, and second of all, it requires a Chrome OS laptop or desktop, and can't be run in more widely-used operating systems. Now an ambitious developer has managed to overcome both of those limitations, enabling (in theory) any Android app to run anywhere that Chrome does.
Developer Vladikoff made ArChon, a customized version of the Android Runtime for Chrome, which loads up as a standard manual Chrome extension.
As you probably already know, the Android Market hit 10 Billion app downloads this week - a huge landmark, no doubt. Over at the Android Developers' Blog, they put together a nifty infographic showcasing some pretty cool details discovered on the path to the big 10B. Check it out:
There's definitely some really cool knowledge dropped here - who would've thought that those little fieldrunners traveled 466,216 miles each month? Or that 1.87 million hours have been spent using the IMDb app in the past four months? Some of these numbers are simply staggering.
I really only have one question - why aren't we downloading more apps at 4:00 AM on Monday mornings?
This morning we told you about RIM's plan to bring Blackberry Enterprise Solution to Android and iOS, with a brief mention of Android apps running on the Playbook. No sooner than we posted the aforementioned article did we find out that RIM had demonstrated just that at Blackberry World Conference. Take a look at the video:
Each Android app will run in its own virtual machine, but will seamlessly integrate into the Blackberry ecosystem. The Playbook doesn't have access to the Android Market, either - all compatible Android Apps will be available through the Blackberry App World. This does mean a bit more headache for developers, though, as they will now have to submit their apps not only to Google for the Android Market, but also to RIM to be accepted into App World.
Update: We have been notified by the developers of this app that the app does not upload any information. The information is kept on the phone and organised by the app. In the future there are plans to implement a feature that would allow the information to be uploaded to a backup server. However, at present, information collected by Friday is not shared with anyone including the developer.
Each day a smartphone user receives information from a variety of different sources, including phone calls, text messages and emails. Keeping track of it all can be a major headache and more often than not we misplace crucial pieces of information because we are unable to recall when we had received them and/or what we were doing at the time.
The Google Reader app for Android is streamlined, slick and easy to use. It performs one function and it does it well: reading your RSS feeds.
So, I was pleasantly surprised when the app updated today with some additional useful features.
Firstly, two new widgets have been added, one to show the unread count and one to display new stories in a news ticker format. The unread count widget can be set to show the number of unread stories in a feed, label, person or on all your items. The news ticker widget scrolls through any of the RSS feeds in Reader.
I'm not sure exactly how recently Google has done this (update: apparently, it's been a few months, thanks Brad), but there is a tab in the mobile search interface called "Android Apps." I'll give you 3 tries to guess what it does.
Clicking on each result pops open the Market app and works exactly as you would expect. The interface does show the star rating to help weed out the crapola, the price, the company name, and the number of reviews. In the future, it would be totally sweet to see an Install button integrated as well, to save us that extra click.