Android apps are (mostly) great! These lightweight pieces of software do exactly what they are meant to do, and they do it using the (sometimes limited) hardware resources a mobile device has. High resolution graphics, cloud enabled services, instant updates and easy handling are “must have” features for mobile apps, and desktop apps on all operating systems often fail at these. If only there was a way to run Android apps on desktops… but wait, there is! The latest App Runtime for Chrome (ARC) plus the new ARC Welder app means that now it’s possible for Android apps to run through the Chrome browser (version 41 or above) on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux or Chrome OS.
Google has created something great through the above mentioned software, but – as usual – it had other plans too, not just to eliminate Android emulators like BlueStacks (which is a great piece of software, but highly resource intensive). The new ARC paves the way for a new platform using Google’s Linux-based Chrome OS, with a very small size and a very low price: Chromebit, the new stick PC built by Asus. The device will be released in the near future, running Google’s Chrome OS, and will reportedly cost somewhere around $100.
What is this Chromebit thing anyway? Basically it is a small scale PC, “smaller than a candy bar but bigger than a memory stick”, with the potential to instantly transform any display with a HDMI plug into a Chrome OS based computer. Chromebit will have a Rockchip 3288 system-on-a-chip, 2 gigabytes of RAM and 16 gigabytes of internal storage, a HDMI connector, a mini-USB connector for power and a USB host for connecting any number of peripherals, plus WiFi and Bluetooth – basically anything you would need to use it in an educational or a business environment. The Chrome OS has a quite limited range of apps available – and this is where ARC Welder comes in. With any Android app having the potential to turn into a Chrome app, basically the whole app offer in the Play Store becomes available for its users – from Candy Crush and Angry Birds to the games at www.platinumplaycasino.com/casino-games/ or Microsoft’s free Office apps.
Chromebit will not only serve as a small scale educational / business PC, but will find its way into people’s living rooms as well. Imagine plugging a small, colorful thingy into your large screen TV and playing Angry Birds – trust me, it’s a surprisingly satisfying experience.
Google has launched an offensive on the Chrome OS front. Aside from Chromebit, which is still under construction, it has announced the Haier Chromebook 11 for sale at Amazon and the Hisense Chromebook for sale at Walmart (in the US), both priced $149. Besides, the search giant has also announced the more expensive Chromebook Flip (also built with Asus), a 10.1″ Chromebook / Tablet transformer with up to 10 hours of battery life and 16GB storage.