If you’re an owner of an HP 13 G1 Chromebook, you can play around with Android apps now. Like, right now.
Of course, this whole process is still in beta. But you can access Android apps easier than ever now. Before, you had to do some major legwork just to mess around with getting these apps on your Chromebook.
Now, you can easily just switch to the Beta Channel and they’ll be right in front of you to download. Literally. You don’t have to do nearly as much work as before. This means no CrOSH lines. Woot. (Especially if you’re not familiar with code, like me.)
Getting the apps
So, here’s how to get the app goodies on your HP 13 G1.
Step 1: Go to Settings. You can open your web browser and click on the menu icon (in the top-right corner with the three dots). Find the Settings tab and click on it.
Step 2: Go to “About Chrome OS” and click on it.
Step 3: Click on “More Info” and then click on “Change Channel.”
Step 4: (Are you sweating yet?) Click on “Select Beta Channel.”
That’s it. No legwork. No hoops. No nothing.
Now, your Chromebook will begin automatically downloading the newest version of Chrome OS, which includes the Play Store for Android apps. The HP 13 is one of the newer Chromebooks to join the list of models that can run these apps.
If it doesn’t appear to be doing its thing, go ahead and look for the “check for and apply updates” button and click on it. This will force it to fetch the beta version and start downloading it.
After it resets, you’ll be greeted with access to the Play Store. You’re free to install whatever Android apps you fancy and interact with them as you please.
When you’re done and had enough for the day (or week), you can switch back to the Stable Channel (which is the default one). When you do this, your local data will be deleted so make sure you back it up. Your Chromebook will automatically perform a Power Wash which will basically restore everything back to factory settings. All your cloud data stored in your Google Account is safe. Just the stuff saved on your local disk will be erased. This includes all the media in your local folders and “Downloads” folder as well.
More thoughts and opinions
While getting Android apps on a Chromebook is absolutely nothing new, it’s still nice to see that more and more models are getting the update. If you have an old or underpowered Chromebook, you’ll be on the waitlist for a while (like me), or you may not even get the update. You can check here to see which models are scheduled for the update, and an approximate timeframe as well.
Either way, remember it’s in beta. Even for flagship models such as the Samsung Plus, there were still many bugs and issues while running apps. Google is clearly working on it to improve the platform, but it’ll take time.
When you’re integration a platform that’s built for touchscreen smartphones with specific hardware onto a bigger screen that may not have the same input and hardware, issues arise. While the kinks get worked out, we can keep playing around with the platform and just “ooh” and “ahh” about what it could be. I’ll keep you updated. Stay tuned.