Google ARC beta brings Android apps to Windows, Mac and Linux

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We’ve known for some time that Google has been working on a method of running Android apps within its Chrome OS — a project that’s being referred to as ARC or App Runtime for Chrome. Now the capabilities of the environment are set to be expanded significantly, as developers in the preview program are being given the go-ahead to run their apps on ARC.

What’s more, Google is expanding the reach of ARC to any desktop OS with the Chrome browser, according to a report by Ars Technica. This functionality had already been hacked into an earlier release, but official support suggests just how far-reaching the project has the potential to be.

For the user, this means you could feasibly run any Android app that’s been run through the packager on your Windows PC, Mac, or Linux computer. That makes for a lot of software previously unavailable on your desktop — and a huge boon for developers, who may potentially have been given a quick and easy way to port their Android content to a broad range of devices.

The biggest change with this latest update is support for Google Play Services. Previously, many apps would crash after being put through the packager because they relied on APIs and other bits of OS infrastructure that Google restricted access to. With those barricades brought down, plenty more apps are set to be compatible with ARC.

Moving forward, this might well turn out to be a game changer. ARC could change the standard approach to development, prompting a universal and device-agnostic system where software can be easily ported to a different OS. If nothing else, it could be a significant blow to iOS, which as expected is absent from the list of OS’s that ARC supports.

Developers can take part in the Google’s ARC preview by downloading the ARC Welder app from this page.

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