Chrome OS Android APK sideloading will soon be easier

Just because it can install Android apps doesn't make Chromebooks Android devices. For one, Android behavior and performance on Chrome OS still leave much to be desired. For another, sideloading APKs, that is, installing from unverified sources, isn't as straightforward. That might soon be a thing of the past when the new code in Chrome OS makes its way to a future version, allowing the installation of APKs without having to wipe your Chromebook.

It has actually been possible to sideload Android APKs ever since Chrome OS gained support for Google Play Store. The process, however, was not only non-trivial, it was risky too. You have to enable Developer Mode, which will wipe your Chromebook clean.

A new commit to Chrome OS source code, however, reveals that a new option was added. One that simply let an administrator decide whether to require developer mode to install Android APKs or not. When turned off, this means that the process will be exactly the same as on Android phones and tablets, double clicking on an APK and agreeing to install from unverified sources.

It's not that hard to understand why Google required users to go through hoops to sideload APKs on Chromebooks. Unlike Android, Chrome OS was designed primarily for schools and businesses, where the need for control is higher and the consequences for compromised systems are more severe.

This new feature, however, isn't a complete solution just yet. It only gives administrators the option to decide whether to enable it or not. There is no indication yet that the same switch will be coming to consumer versions as well.

VIA: Chrome Story