Google Inc – With App Runtime for Chrome (ARC) project Google has practically made it possible to run any Android app on any computer device like desktop or Mac.
Around this week Google inc began more publishing a developer tool called ARC, App Runtime for Chrome, designed to allow developers to quickly port apps like VLC and others from Android to Google’s Chrome OS. Chrome and Chrome OS have a small number of native apps, but lack the broad app support that Android does.
The latest features make it so that ARC can run on any desktop OS that has the Chrome browser installed, and opens up the ability to launch Android apps on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and Chrome OS, according to Ars Technica.
Google’s updated ARC project also allows developers to run their app on ARC via a new Chrome app packager, and the only platform excluded is of course iOS.
Originally Google ARC was designed to let Android apps run on Chrome OS. However, shortly after it was launched, a hack found the full potential of the project to run on any machine, and that has now been added as a full feature.
ARC is able to run Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome OS through a Native Client (NaCL), which is a sandboxing technology that lets Chrome apps run at close to native speeds and fully harness a machine’s CPU and GPU.
Track down some APKs
For testing, I used the recent Hisense Chromebook released by the Chinese manufacturer this week. I made sure that the Chromebook was upgraded to the latest version of Chrome OS, using the beta, rather than the stable channel. You’ll need to download the ARC Welder app itself from the Chrome store, of course.
What ARC Welder does is is fairly straightforward: The app allows you to launch an Android app (packaged up as an APK file) within Chrome. The app simply intercepts instructions to and from an Android phone or tablet, and routes them through your computer. That means, of course, that apps that depend on location, the back-facing camera, or the orientation of your phone, won’t work. (Fortunately, using the trackpad to simulate swipes and taps seems to satisfy an app that thinks it’s living on a touch-enabled tablet or phone.)
Is that hard?
Well it isn’t as easy as that and developers will need to play around with the ARC Welder and submit the app to the Chrome Web Store before it can actually run.
What ARC and the NaCL do is champion Google’s strategy to make sure that developers write more apps for the Android ecosystem and they then work on more devices than ever – never a bad thing from a consumer point of view.