Google today announced the release of Chrome for Android on Intel x86 devices. You can download Chrome 18.0.1026311 now from the official Google Play store.

The release means Android on Intel x86 users will be able to use Chrome and won’t have to deal with any other browser. Previously, if you tried to install Chrome for Android on an Intel device, you would get a “package file is invalid” error.

Slowly but surely, the search giant will be able to phase out the stock Android browser and replace it with Chrome. It will take a very long time given that Chrome for Android only works for Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) and up, but it’s certainly a start.

To put things into perspective, the Android versions (ICS and Jelly Bean) that can run Chrome account for just 22.1 percent of the Android market pie, as of last month. With this Chrome release, Google is ensuring that number doesn’t dip when it comes to Chrome support specifically.

Android devices on Intel x86 include the Lenovo K800, the Orange San Diego, the ZTE Grand X IN, and the Motorola’s Razr i. Unfortunately, the first two both run Android 2.3 (and thus can’t run Chrome), though the last two run Android 4.0.

The Razr i arrives next month. Android Central got a pre-release version of the device last week and noticed that Chrome wouldn’t install. “There is not a version available that is optimised for Intel,” a Motorola spokesperson said at the time. “We expect it at in-store launch or shortly thereafter.”

It looks like Google got it out early. Two weeks ago, Intel ported Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) to x86 phones, and given that Jelly Bean ships with Chrome by default, it all adds up. Google just wants to make sure Chrome will work on Intel x86 devices so that it can start phasing out the stock Android browser.

In addition to the usual security and stability improvements, here’s the release log of Chrome for Android M18.1:

  • Location preference now integrated to system level Google apps location setting.
  • Youtube videos controls now work in full screen mode; videos continue playing after a screen lock/unlock.
  • Fixes to make third-party IMEs work better with Chrome.

See also: Intel bets big on Android and the smartphone ecosystem could benefit and Google releases new version of Chrome for Android, plugs seven security holes

Image credit: Bruno De Lorenzo