In 2014, Google launched a way for Android developers to quickly port apps onto Chrome OS and more importantly, onto the Chrome browser. The native client App Runtime for Chrome (ARC) has been in private beta with a few well known developers, but today Google launched it for everyone.
This means anyone, developer or not, can port an app from the Android ecosystem and straight onto Chrome. The ARC Welder is an app browser extension capable of taking Android APKs and reuploading them on a new platform.
This is not secluded to Chrome OS, meaning Windows, Mac or Linux users running the Chrome browser will be able to utilise the technology. Google has been looking for a simple way to port apps, and this might be the simplest of all.
It will not work 100 percent of the time, in fact we put a small rate of success on this route for porting. Most apps will run into usability problems from mouse and keyboard controls, alongside size and package issues moving from a platform for mobile to a platform for desktop.
Remember how bad mobile apps looked on the iPhone 4 when the all apps were scaled to 3.5-inches on iOS. This new porting method is even worse, making 6-inch apps appear on 13-inch displays on the MacBook or 30-inch displays on a high-end desktop.
Of course, we do not expect many app developers to take this route, instead focusing on an actual port to the Chrome Web Store. Google has received quite a few native applications on Chrome, but not enough to really make it a competitive ecosystem.