If you’ve ever dreamt about using your favourite Android apps on the desktop, then you might be happy to hear that there are popular Android emulators like Andy & Bluestacks that’s designed to do exactly this. But did you know that Google released their own app to test apps and launch Android apps from Google Chrome directly? Google built a tool called ARC Welder which was released way back in 2015 to allow developers to port their apps to the desktop.
The main goal being able to get them to work on Google’s Chrome OS. But the tool is also available for Windows and Mac users!
Use Your Favourite Android Apps Directly from Google Chrome
Getting this to work is simpler than you think. In just a few steps you can launch your favourite Android apps from Google Chrome.
Pre-Requisites for Running Apps
Step 1: Download ARC Welder from Chrome’s Webstore. Allow the download and installation some time since the file is bigger than your average Chrome web app.
Step 2: Get the APKs you want to install directly from these websites or APK Mirror.
Once finished with those two steps, it’s time to add the APK file to ARC Welder and launch it.
How to Use ARC Welder
Step 1: Launch ARC Welder from the installed Chrome Apps here.
Step 2: Select the directory to save the Apps.
Step 3: Add the APK available for testing. Then select the orientation and form factor.
Step 4: Select Test to see if the app works. It may take some time to load the app.
Step 5: Press the Download ZIP folder to get the app as a ZIP file. Then unzip the same package onto the ARC welder directory.
Step 6: Go to the Extensions page and select Load Unpacked Extension. Now the app can be launched directly from the Chrome Apps page. Also, make sure Developer options is checked if not checked already.
The Downside of This Method:
ARC welder is excellent to launch small and simple apps. But it falls a little short because of the lack of Google Play Services and Google Apps support like Keep which is understandably unavailable or impossible to install on Chrome since it’s unequipped to handle. Another shortcoming is it’s going to be buggier on the desktop mainly because the tool was intended for Chrome OS users. So don’t be surprised by app crashes or bugs.
While Bluestacks and Andy remain excellent options for Android emulation with full support for Google accounts and Play Store Services, ARC Welder is a nifty little tool for running just a few apps without having to install outside the browser that’s fancy. Do let us know which apps you were able to get working flawlessly.