Run Android Apps in Chrome Browser



Let’s take a look at how you can run android apps in Chrome browser. Keep in mind, this is more of a proof of concept than something you should heavily rely on. While simple apps and games will work, you will most likely run into issues when trying android apps with advanced graphics. To run android apps in Chrome browser we are going to use a modified version of the android-chrome runtime found inside of chrome. We are running android apps without using the arc welder chrome extension.

Download ARChon Runtime for Chrome

Downloading ARChon Runtime will allow you to run android apps in chrome browser on Windows, Mac OS, Chrome OS and any other supported architecture. After you download the ZIP folder, extract it. This is essentially a chrome extension that you will need to load.

archon extracted

In Google Chrome, navigate to chrome://extensions and enable developer mode. Then select the option to load unpacked extension and navigate to the folder that you extracted. It will take about a minute to load. Refresh the page and you should now see the runtime in the list of extensions.

Load Archon to run android apps in Chrome browser

Test App

Download the sample app and extract it anywhere on you system. Then navigate back to chrome://extensions and try loading that extension. You should see a new app in your list once it loads. When you launch it, you will be inside the game 2048.

2048 android app in Chrome browser

Making any Android app run in Chrome Browser

To make any android app run inside the Chrome browser, you will need to use the tool chromeos-apk to convert it to a Chrome extension. In order to use this tool, you will need to install NodeJS. After you install it, open up command prompt and type in the following to globally install the tool:

npm install chromeos-apk -g

Now once it’s installed, you are ready to convert any android app. Head over to apk mirror to grab an android apk. When you download it, open command prompt in the same folder that you downloaded it in. Hint: You can hold down shift and right click in Windows explorer to get an option to open command prompt in current directory

Let’s say your apk file name is com.dave.bennett. You will type in the following in command prompt:

chromeos-apk com.dave.bennett

This will output a folder that you can then load as an unpacked extension in Google Chrome

Manifest Error - No “message” element for key extName.

If you encounter this error, than you will need to modify one little JSON line. Go inside the folder that the tool produced and open the manifest.json file in your favorite text editor.

Manifest JSON

Search for the property “name”. Copy it’s value to your clipboard. Then close that file and navigate to _locales/en and open up the message.json file.

You will see a property called extName. It will probably have only one property inside of that called description. Create a new one with the value that you copied earlier. Here’s what mine looks like:

{
  "appNotSupported": {
    "description": "Message displayed when the app is not supported.",
    "message": "This app is incompatible with your device. Check to make sure other Android apps work for you from the Chrome Web Store"
  },
  "extName": {
    "description": "Extension name",
	"message":"com.soundcloud.android"
  }
}

Now save and close that file. The app should load property now when you load it in Chrome.


See also