ARC is a project that allows Android apps to run on Chrome OS, and it was previously limited to a small group of developers who got to collaborate with Google to do so. Now, the company has launched a new Chrome app packager that allows anyone to run their Android apps on Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome OS.
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The new tool, dubbed ARC Welder, is a Chrome app that handles the mobile-to-desktop conversion in just a few clicks, using your Android app’s APK file for the job. We tested it and found Twitter’s Android app running just fine on Windows.
Interestingly, ARC runs on Android 4.4 and not Android 5.0 Lollipop.
In addition to opening up ARC Welder to developers, ARC now includes Google Play Services, which are essential for running certain apps that use OAuth2, Google Cloud Messaging, Google+ sign-in and other services from the company.
However, ARC doesn’t yet include all Play Services, and so, some apps that require missing services like in-app purchasing will fail to run or crash. Hopefully Google will add these in the near future to enable more apps to run on various desktop platforms.
This is huge, because it means that developers can build a single app and have it run on Android mobile devices as well as most desktops. With Microsoft promising a unified Windows 10 OS for PCs, phones and tablets later this year, it’s important for Google to help Android keep pace — and this seems to be a smart way to do so.