5 min read

Running Android apps on Chrome is a complicated task, especially when you are not using a Chromebook. However, it should be noted that Chrome has an in-built tool (now) that allows users to test Android-based application in the browser, launched by Google in 2015, known as App Runtime for Chrome (ARC) Welder.

What is ARC Welder?

The ARC Welder tool allows Android applications to run on Google Chrome for Windows, OS X, Linux systems. ARC Welder is basically for app developers who want to test run their Android applications within Chrome OS and confront any runtime errors or bugs. The tool was launched as an experimental concept for developers previously but later was available for download for everyone.

Main functions:

ARC Welder offers an easy and streamlined method for application testing. At the first step, the user will be required to add the bundle into the existing application menu. Users are provided with the freedom to write to any file or a folder which can be opened via ARC software assistance. Any beginner developer or a user can choose to leave the settings page as they (settings) will be set to default if skipped or left unsaved.

Here’s how to run ARC Welder tool for running android application:


  1. Download or upgrade to the latest version of Google Chrome browser.
  2. Download and run the ARC Welder application from the Google Chrome Store.
  3. Add a third-party APK file host.
  4. After downloading the APK app file in your laptop/PC, click Open.
  5. Select the mode “Phone” and ‘Tablet”–either of which you wish you run the application on.
  6. Lastly, click on the “Launch App” button.

Points to remember for running ARC Welder on Chrome:

ARC Welder tool only works with APK files, which means that in order to get your Android Applications successfully run on your laptop, you will be required to download APK files of the specific application you wish to install on your desktop. You can find APK files from the below mentioned APK databases:

  1. APKMirror
  2. AndroidAPKsFree
  3. AndroidCrew
  4. APKPure

Points to remember before installing ARC Welder:

  1. Only one specific application can be loaded at one single time.
  2. On the basis of your application, you will be required to select the portrait/landscape mode manually.
  3. Tablet and Phone mode specifications are necessary as they have different outcomes.
  4. ARC Welder is based on Android 4.4. This means that users are required to test applications that support Android 4.4 or above.

Note: Points 1 and 2 can be considered as limitations of ARC Welder.

Pros:

  1. Cross-platform as it works on Windows, Linux, Mac and Chrome OS.
  2. Developed by Google which means the software will evolve quickly considering the upgrade pace of Android (also developed by Google).
  3. Allows application testing in Google Chrome web browser.

Cons:

  1. Not all Google Play Services are supported by ARC Welder.
  2. ARC Welder only supports “ARM” APK format.
  3. Keyboard input is spotty.
  4. Takes 2-3 minutes to install as compared to other testing applications like BlueStacks (one-click install).
  5. No accelerometer simulation.
  6. Users are required to choose the “orientation” mode before getting into the detailed interface of ARC Welder.

There are competitors of ARC Welder like BlueStacks which is often preferred by a majority of developers due to its one-click install feature. Although ARC Welder gives a much better performance, it still ranks at 7th (BlueStacks stands at 6th). Apart from shortcomings, ARC Welder continues to evolve and secure its faithful following of beginners to expert developers. In the next section, we’ll have a look at the few alternatives to ARC Welder.

Few Alternatives:

  1. Genymotion – It is an easy to use android emulator for your computer. It works as a virtual machine and enables you to run mobile apps and games on your desktop and laptop efficiently.
  2. Andy – It is an operating system that works as an android emulator for your computer. It allows you to open up mobile apps and play mobile games in a version of the Android operating system on your Mac or Windows desktop.
  3. BlueStacks – It is a website that has been built to format mobile apps and make them compatible to the desktop computers. It also helps to open ip mobile gaming apps on computers and laptops.
  4. MEmu – It is the fastest android emulator that allows you to play mobile games on PC for free. It is known for its performance, and user experience. It supports most of the popular mobile apps and games, and various system configurations.
  5. Koplayer – It is a free, one of the best android emulator for PC that supports video recording, multiple accounts, and keyboard. Built on x86 architecture, it is more stable and faster than Bluestacks.

Not to mention, it is very interesting to load android apps on chrome browser on your computer and laptop, no matter which operating system you are using. It could be very useful to run android apps on chrome browser when Google play store and Apple app store are prone to exploitation. Although right now we can run a few apps using ARC Welder, one at a time, surely the developers will add more functionality and take this to the next level.

So, are you ready to use mobile apps play mobile games on your PC using ARC Welder? If you have any questions, leave in the comment box, we’ll respond back.

Author Bio

HillaryHilary is a writer, content manager at Androidcrew.com. She loves to share the knowledge and insights she gained along the way with others.