Google has increased the functionality of their 'App Runtime for Chrome', or ARC, to allow all Android apps to run inside Chrome on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux or the company's own Chromebooks. The major update is meant to assist developers in creating more apps for Chrome OS, but it could be handy for regular desktop users as well.
When Google launched ARC back in September last year, it was only available to developers who collaborated with the company to port apps to the platform. From today, ARC is available to everyone, with Google releasing a Chrome app called ARC Welder that converts Android APKs to Chrome apps.
The tool is primarily intended for developers interested in making their Android apps available in the Chrome Web Store. ARC now supports many Google Play Services APIs, so a large portion of Android apps should work in ARC without significant modification. However, as Ars Technica notes, some apps which are designed for the functions of a smartphone don't work properly.
Despite ARC being designed for developers, anyone running Chrome on a desktop platform will be able to convert Android APKs into Chrome apps. If you want to run the Twitter app on your Windows desktop, grab a Twitter APK, chuck it into the ARC Welder, and you'll be able to run the app in a sandboxed window.
There's a chance that the wide release of ARC will lead to more Android apps being ported to Chrome, or at least that's what Google is hoping. It's currently based on Android 4.4 and the old-school Dalvik VM, but it will likely be updated to Android 5.0 and ART in the future.
If you want to give the ARC Welder a try, it's now available in the Chrome Web Store.