New Chrome extension allows Android apps to run on Windows, Linux and OS X

Google today released a new Chrome extension that allows users to run Android apps on their desktop computer. Once the extension is installed, Windows, OS X, Chrome OS and other Linux distros are able to run Android apps.AndroidPixelSideBySide2

The Chrome extension runs the Android apps a runtime called Arc, Google writes. Because Arc includes Google Play Services, it’s possible to run many apps on the desktop. Obviously, running Android apps on a desktop computer can have some limitations. On the desktops apps can’t use APIs for cameras and sensors that are only available in smartphones such as a gyroscope or proximity sensor. Because Arc runs in Chrome’s Native Client it does have access to the CPU and GPU of the system which is beneficial to the performance.

Because the current release is a test version for developers, it doesn’t include the Play Store to download apps, so users have to add their own .APK files. The extension makes it possible to run Android apps on Windows, OS X, Chrome OS and Linux distros and operating systems for which Chrome is available.

There are some limitations on the runtime, it can run one app at a time and some apps simply don’t work, including Google’s own Play Store. It’s unknown when Google will release a final version of the extension.