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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Here’s how you can run Android apps on your Chrome Browser

It used to be that when you wanted to port Android apps to your laptop, the best way (if not the only way) to do it was to install the infamous Bluestacks software.
Yes, it did get the job done for the most part but it slowed down your laptop, sometimes going as far as making it barely usable. Considering it was the easiest way to go about it, you chose to stick with it, through and through. Which made perfect sense…until now.
Well, the good news is that now you don’t have to live with laggy software because all you need is a fresh install of the Chrome browser (if you didn’t have it already),  an Android device for setup and a tad of luck so some of your favorite apps won’t crash on you.
Here’s a step by step process to walk you through the hack (Note: some apps may not work, this is a fresh hack so some workarounds will be added sooner)

1. Fire up your laptop, install Chrome.

First, you will be needing the Chrome browser. You can download the browser from these links (Windows or Mac). After you have finished installing the browser, set up all your accounts by signing in to Chrome. If you already have Chrome installed on your laptop you can skip this step to the next one.

2. Download the ARChon Runtime extension for Chrome.

You will have to get this hack (link) to install this extension as a developer. This will allow you to circumvent any restrictions to the browser.
When you download the .zip file you will have to unpack the file to a folder that you will remember e.g a folder named ‘packs‘ on the desktop.
Open the browser and proceed to “Main Menu” then Tools>Extensions. Select “Developer mode” and click on “load unpacked extensions”

3. Loading the Extensions

After clicking “load unpacked extensions,” the next step is quite easy. You will have to select the folder you extracted your contents to. In our case this was “packs” from the desktop.
For a fail-safe, your folder should contain _locales and vendor sub-folders.
Error messages will show up but don’t let them scare you off, you can just ignore them.

4. Install the Chrome APK packager on your smartphone/tablet

This is the part where half the trouble of setting it up gets completed. You will need this app to convert your Android apps to be compatible with the browser.
Download the app from the Play Store
From here you can convert an app already installed on your smartphone or you choose an app that you already kept at bay. The app creates a .zip file of the app(s) you selected in the ChromeAPKs folder on your phone.

(Optional Step):

Don't have an android device?Don't worry because you can convert apk files directly from your computer using a chrome extension called Twerk

5. Install the apps on your browser

Now with your apps converted you will have to move them to the computer. Place them in a folder, same as last time, even the same folder (“packs“) you used before.
Load the extensions the same way you did on step 2 and 3.

6. It’s go time; launch your apps

If you’ve successfully completed the last step then all you’ve left is trying the apps out, see if they work. Some apps do have compatibility issues but quite I’m sure a lot of them work well.
Launching them should be as easy as finding them in the app drawer or via the extension list.
Image credit – Google.com, Phonearena.com

Madhav Biju

Author & Editor

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