Google opened up its Chrome OS platform a while back, bringing its massive Android ecosystem to the ultra-light operating system. That means you can install Android apps on your Chromebook, that light, little thing running on a modified version of the Chrome browser. That’s over 2.5 million apps! With that in mind, we went ahead and sorted through the Google Play store for the best Android apps for Chromebooks currently available.
No app list on the internet right now would be complete without Netflix. Without it, how would you procrastinate, how would you fill your evenings, how would you chill? Exactly. The Netflix app for Chrome OS is every bit as capable as the Netflix app on every other platform, and if you’ve ever used it on an Android device, it should be pretty familiar. Just sign into your account (or your old roommate’s account you still have access to) and pick up where you left off — presumably watching some of the best movies on the service.
Okay, maybe you could still procrastinate without Netflix. But good luck putting off those deadlines without YouTube, right? The site has everything, from viral videos to movies, and now you can easily browse on your Chromebook. The Chrome OS app is ultimately a carbon-copy of the Android version — it’s pretty much the same as the YouTube web app, but a little cleaner. Don’t worry, your subscriptions and weird faves are right where you left them.
If you have an Android phone, you probably already enjoy Google Photos, particularly after a recent redesign. The Google Photos app also works pretty well on Chrome OS. It’s a great place to browse for old photos you had no idea your phone backed up — and subsequently delete them. All of them. Yeah, especially those ones. You can also edit photos, organize them into albums, and apply the usual assortment of filters. It’s an easy pick for the best Android apps for Chromebooks.
No more firing up Spotify in your browser, nope, now you an download the dedicated Android app for the full Spotify experience. It features the same functionality, but now you can free up a browser tab and keep listening to all the Tay Swift you can handle. That’s right, she’s on Spotify now — so you can cancel your secret Apple Music subscription.
Now you can run Slack from your Chromebook’s desktop rather than trying to keep up with your co-workers in a browser tab that will inevitably get closed by accident. It runs a little better from the app than it does in a browser tab anyway — even if you can’t blame missed messages on your browser anymore.
Outlook, everyone’s favorite productivity app, provides a fully-featured experience that you just don’t get when its tethered to a flimsy browser tab. Now you can get all those important notifications, meeting invites, and calendar alerts that you’d been missing out on. It’s another way pick for best Android apps for Chromebooks.
All right, this one’s nothing exciting but if you’ve ever tried to digitally sign something in a browser, it’s a very welcome change. SignEasy allows you to sign, initial, and submit important documents and keep a detailed record of them right there in the app.
Fire up the Kindle reader in a browser. Go ahead, we’ll wait. Not a great reading experience is it? Well, now you can just open the Kindle Android app and actually enjoy reading that digital copy of War & Peace you’ve been chipping away at for years. Or, you know, read literally anything else.
Paint, infinitely. Seriously, this app will let you paint forever and ever. Most other painting apps do that too, but it’s nice to have options now that your Chromebook can run Android apps — and legit digital art suites. Infinite Painter includes a set of customizable brushes, and editing tools to create or add-on to existing works, and since it’s optimized for Android, it’s not going to make your poor Chromebook struggle to keep up.
You can’t discuss digital media creation tools without mentioning at least one Autodesk app. Sketchbook combines a vast array of digital brushes, pencils, and other tools to round out a remarkably full-featured Android app. It’s not as responsive as a pencil and paper, but with the right Chromebook — and the right stylus — it comes pretty close.
Designed more for painting than sketching, Art Canvas offers a multi-layer painting experience filled to the brim with professional-grade tools and palette options. It even goes so far as to emulate oil and watercolor paints, so your work looks vibrant and lifelike.
Adobe Photoshop Express
If you found any decent photos in your Google Photos backlog, you might want to put them into Adobe Photoshop Express to touch things up a bit before posting it to Instagram. It’s not as robust as a full-on desktop version of Photoshop, but the basics are here — color adjustments, cropping, and of course filters. So many filters.
Duolingo for Android also runs very well on Chrome OS, so you can finally polish up those Spanish skills with the help of a nagging little owl who will message you every day until you cave and re-learn your verbs again. It’s for your own good, the little owl will say, relentlessly prodding you day and night.
Chromebooks aren’t exactly known for their gaming prowess, and Asphalt 8 isn’t going to knock your socks off with its visuals, but it runs well and it’s about as visually stunning as Chromebook gaming is going to get in the near future.
Something like Sacred Legends is a bit less demanding, but still runs well on Chrome OS. Here, you take on the role of an adventurer fighting — what else — an ancient evil come to take over the world. Not the most original premise, but when it comes to Chromebook gaming, you take what you can get.