Today we are going to do something a little different. As you may or may not know, the Google Play Store is now available on Chromebooks, and Google is working hard to bring the complete Android ecosystem to all Chromebooks in the wild. Well, okay not all of them, but most. For a complete list of Chromebooks that support Android, click here.
In many ways, Chrome OS is shaping up to be the next big iteration of Android. What I mean is, Google is trying to combine the two into one seamless operating system so you can get the best of both worlds, and there are many experts out there that believe Chrome OS and Chromebooks are the next evolution of Android tablets. Whether this ends up being true or not, I felt that it’s important to see just how far they’ve come and what you can install and run on your Chromebook from Android. So today we are going to look at six Android apps for Chromebooks that you can download and install right now. Shall we begin?
Android Apps for Chromebooks
Remember, for this list I’m not talking about apps that have been designed for both Android and Chrome OS. Instead I’m examining Android apps that are only available on the Google Play Store but will still work with your Chromebook. This is by no means a complete list, but a short list of six of the best apps out there, in my opinion, that every Chromebook owner should grab today.
1. Microsoft Outlook
For a long time email apps had no place on Chromebooks. Finally, a few developers came up with a few options, but for users of Outlook, there weren’t a lot of options. Now, you can install the Android version of Outlook right on your Chromebook. With it brings a full POP, iMAP, and even Exchange client to your Chromebook. If you want to use your Chromebook for a little work on the road and you don’t use Gmail, then this is a definite must have app. It’s one of the better email options out there for mobile no matter what platform you use and it’s a great addition for any Chromebook owner that needs to access an Exchange server for their email.
Price: Free to Download, Subscription Required
No laptop is complete without this app, at least if you have a Netflix subscription. Who doesn’t have a Netflix subscription these days? If you want to binge watch your favorite show or catch the latest movies available for streaming, this is the best software to do it. While you could access it through the browser, the dedicated app works much like the one on Android and makes it easy for you to ignore your work and enjoy some much needed entertainment. The question is, what show will you watch next, and how quickly can you get through all the seasons?
Price: Free with Paid Content Options
YouTube is one of, if not the most popular video streaming service on the planet. Where else can you watch anything from full length movies to your friends favorite cat videos all in one place? Again, you could always browse to the website and watch it, but why do that when you can have a dedicated app to do the same thing? The app is a carbon copy of the Android app, and all your subscriptions and channels will be right there waiting for you to enjoy. Personally, if you have kids like me, this is a surprisingly popular app, and my 3 year old can navigate it better than me.
Price: Free to Download and use, Subscription Optional for added features
I love my music, and today I access all of it through Spotify. Well, almost all of it. When the Spotify service was first released, many wondered if this type of streaming service with ads or a subscription would be viable. Today, the service is one of the leaders in the music industry, even if some artists hate them. I love my Spotify, and I even have the full subscription service. But whether you subscribe or not, this is the best way to stream your favorite tunes while you work. Pair your device with a good headset and you can enjoy the best music wherever you go. All you need is an Internet connection to do it.
5. Google Photos
Price: Free to Download and use, Added features for GSuite and Google Drive subscribers
This is a new one to my best of lists, and with good reason. Google recently redesigned and updated the app and now it’s one of my favorite photo management apps out there. If you use anything Google, such as an Android smartphone and even Chrome OS, you can automatically back up your photos to it and access them on any of your devices. On top of that, you can organize them into different albums, and even apply filters and touch them up, although I would recommend adding the next app in this list for better touch up options.
6. Adobe Photoshop Express
I have to say that a good quality image editor like such as the full version of Photoshop is still sorely needed on mobile platforms and Chrome OS. Still, Photoshop Express is one of the best options out there today. This software is a great tool for touching up photos and altering them with its variety of touch up and filters available. While the app is free, you can gain access to even more options if you fork over a little cash. For those of you with huge photo collections or anyone who spends gobs of time posting to Instagram, then this is a great addition to your Chromebook.
Chrome OS is shaping up to be the next big thing for Android tablets, and the incorporation of Android apps is the first big step to signal this evolution has begun. If you run Chrome OS, there’s a good chance that you can now access the best of what the Play Store has to offer. This list will get you started, but search the store and see what you can find that will work on your Chromebook.
While not ever app will work, I think you will find a good selection of apps for you to use. What Android apps have you tried on your Chromebook? Tell me your experience with Android on Chrome OS in the comments below.