People who use Chromebooks very well know that Android apps can be downloaded on them via the Google Play Store. However, just by installing Android applications on Chromebook does not enable them to function as an Android device. It is because certain essential apps may not be downloadable on Chromebooks via the Google app store. If it were for an Android device, then these Android apps could be downloaded manually on the same. This feature is also referred to as sideloading.
Currently, this sideloading feature is not available on Chromebooks; that is, they have to rely completely on the Google Play Store to install Android apps. However, if the Chromebook has Chrome OS 80 installed, probably this sideloading feature may be possible in Chromebooks too. It is expected to go on floors next year.
Advantages of sideloading Android apps on Chromebook
So far, Google has conducted various experiments on how to enable the functioning of Android apps on Chromebooks. Finally, it came to a resolution wherein these apps could be downloaded on Chromebooks via the Google Play Store. However, even then, not all apps were allowed to be installed on the Chrome OS. Another drawback was that developers were unable to verify whether these apps functioned correctly on Chromebook if they were not running on Play Store.
However, these issues could probably be sorted out with the Chrome OS 80 installed on Chromebooks. Apparently, with Chrome OS 80, Android apps could probably be installed on Chromebook from any other site other than Google Play Store. If this works out, then a lot of developers’ time would be saved because the developers can directly sideload the Android apps and check their functionality on Chromebook. They need to take the trouble of installing them via the Google Play Store.
Another beneficial feature for the developers would be that they can use Chromebook as their primary development device if the sideloading of Android apps is facilitated on them. Google has desired this for quite some time now. It is, however, only possible if the Chrome OS has Linux support and Android Studio installed.
The add-ons to this sideloading feature would be that users can also download certain in-development apps on Chromebook. This goes against the Google Play Store feature, which imposes restrictions on these kinds of apps. These can be easily overcome when the apps are being downloaded manually on Chromebook. It could be slightly complex to implement on Chromebook, though, in a few days, a toggle functionality could be used to achieve the same.
Are there any risks involved?
There could be some cons to this functionality. Along with the sideloading feature, there could also be the risk of malware threat involved, because Android apps can be downloaded directly from elsewhere other than the Google Play Store. However, with Chromebook users very well aware of these risks, one can always expect them to watch out before installing any application from any other site.
Moreover, this feature is expected to be disabled on Chromebooks handled by schools and employers.
Claims made by Google about the sideloading feature
Google, however, now claims that the sideloading feature on Chromebooks with Chrome OS 80 installed is not working in a manner in which it is supposed to work. Apparently, Android apps cannot be downloaded by installing an APK file. Rather, the Chromebook user’s personal apps can be downloaded with the aid of Google’s developer tools.
Google states that the wait for the sideloading feature is not yet over. It may appear on some other Chrome OS, but not on Chrome OS 80.