We have heard loads about how Android apps on Chrome OS are a giant deal, however if you first end up staring on the Google Play Retailer on a dual-purpose system, it may be powerful to know the place to start.
Chromebooks have been already fairly succesful with out Android apps within the equation, in spite of everything, and lots of the Play Retailer’s hottest titles are additionally out there in web-app equivalents. Certain, you would set up the Google Docs Android app or the Twitter Android app onto a Chromebook, however you’d get higher and extra full experiences by utilizing both service’s web-based counterpart. So why hassle?
The trick is to determine which Android apps really improve Chrome OS in a significant means — both by filling in a spot within the platform or by including one thing new and sensible into the expertise. However in a sea of overlapping titles and mobile-specific utilities, singling out such a variety is not all the time straightforward.
That is why I am right here to assist. I’ve spent numerous hours dwelling with Chromebooks and utilizing them as each productiveness and leisure instruments. I’ve explored the out there Android app choices and pinpointed the applications that develop a Chromebook’s capabilities in measures that matter. I’ve even gone on enterprise journeys carrying nothing however an Android-app-enabled Chromebook for all of my work and (ahem) procrastination wants.
Begin with the titles under — all free, until in any other case famous — and watch your Chromebook remodel from a cloud-centric laptop computer into a platform-defying all-purpose system.
(Once you’re achieved right here, by the best way, remember to contemplate some Linux apps on your Chromebook, too. These can additional prolong your laptop’s productiveness powers — in some totally different however equally attention-grabbing methods.)
Paperwork, spreadsheets, and different file-oriented work
Microsoft Phrase, Excel, and PowerPoint
We’ll kick issues off with the obvious of the bunch: If Google Docs would not minimize it for you and Microsoft’s Workplace On-line providing is equally insufficient, the Android variations of Phrase, Excel, and PowerPoint are exactly what you want. They’re absolutely featured and beautifully acquainted, so long as you will have an Workplace 365 or Microsoft 365 subscription — they usually fill a previously unaddressable void left by Microsoft’s lackluster internet choices.
Want a desktop-caliber workplace suite with out the recurring charge? MobiSystems’ OfficeSuite Professional is the next-best factor to Microsoft’s standard-bearer. The app prices $20, plus an extra $10 for a font pack you will most likely need. (And keep in mind: As soon as bought, you need to use this system on any Android system as effectively.)
Xodo does one factor and does it effectively: It makes it useless easy to write down on, spotlight, and annotate PDFs. If you could fill out varieties by hand or mark up the occasional doc in your Chromebook, this free and easy-to-use app — additionally my advice for the greatest PDF manipulation program for Android units — is the one for you.
The native Chrome OS Recordsdata app is okay, however you may give your self larger file administration energy with Strong Explorer, an Android file supervisor app that is optimized for Chrome OS help. Strong Explorer means that you can use a two-panel view for simple dragging and dropping of information between a number of areas — together with your common native storage, the realm of your storage devoted to Android app use, and cloud-based storage from quite a lot of appropriate suppliers. It will possibly connect with your individual private or firm FTP or WebDav server, too, and it helps you to add further layers of encryption to information in any of these areas.
OneNote customers, take notice: The Android model of OneNote — my decide for the greatest fully-featured Android note-taking app, notably — one-ups its web-based equal by offering offline entry to your notes together with enhanced handwriting help. In the event you’re utilizing OneNote with a Chromebook, it is effectively price having round.
Google’s note-taking service has a completely practical internet model, however the Preserve Android app provides some noteworthy benefits. Initially, similar to with OneNote, the Android model of Preserve helps you to view and work together with your notes even if you’re offline — which could possibly be a useful choice to have, at the very least in some theoretical future world the place we’re all touring once more.
Past that, the Preserve Android app is very well-suited to on-screen scribbling — with a stylus, your finger, or no matter appendage you favor — because of its built-in instruments and settings for controlling the colour and thickness of your “ink.” It even has the power so as to add quite a lot of paper-like grid strains into your notes to make them really feel like extra of a pure writing setting.
Talking of taking notes by hand, this $12 note-taking utility is a must have for anybody who makes use of a Chromebook with a stylus. Nebo provides you a strong set of instruments for writing and drawing straight in your system’s display screen after which having your phrases transformed into common, copy-and-paste-ready textual content. You possibly can even draft diagrams and have the app translate your entire work into plain textual content, HTML, or a completely formatted Phrase doc that is able to be shared together with your staff.
Squid is much less about changing your handwritten notes into textual content and extra about supplying you with a sturdy canvas for scrawling out data and leaving it in that pen-created type. It is specifically optimized for low latency with stylus use and utterly vector-based, too, so you may create top quality, absolutely scalable photographs. And something you make inside the app will be exported as a JPG, PDF, or PNG file and even forged to a Chromecast-compatible display screen for an on-the-fly presentation.
The app’s fundamentals are free whereas sure superior options — the power to import PDFs, as an example, together with the choices to make use of the highlighter and form instruments for modifying — can be found as a part of an optionally available $1-a-month or $10-a-year premium subscription.
Communication and group
Caught dwelling in Microsoft’s electronic mail universe? Go away Outlook’s lackluster internet model behind and provides your self the pleasure of utilizing the Android app as an alternative. It supplies offline entry to your electronic mail and is noticeably quicker than its browser-based brother.
In the event you depend on Fb’s Messenger system for any type of skilled communication, utilizing the standalone Android app is infinitely higher than maintaining the total Fb web site open all day (or choosing up your telephone each time a brand new message is available in). It is Fb messaging with out the remainder of Fb, in essence. What extra do you could know?
Google Calendar’s internet interface might really feel acquainted, however the Android model of the service has the extra up to date and touch-friendly interface — and it really works offline, too, one thing the net model surprisingly nonetheless would not do. Particularly in the event you’re accustomed to utilizing Calendar in your telephone, you will respect having the app out there in your Chromebook, even when just for occasional use.
Trello lovers, pay attention up: You may completely wish to have Trello’s Android app in your Chromebook for any touch-oriented organizational work. It will make it really feel such as you’re engaged on a pill as an alternative of clumsily making an attempt to claw round an internet site together with your finger — and it’s going to allow you to entry your knowledge if you’re offline.
Google’s personal Duties service is not probably the most highly effective process supervisor round, however in the event you like utilizing it, the Duties Android app can be a wise addition to your Chromebook setup. It helps you to deal with Duties as its personal standalone program, for one — versus simply being bundled into Gmail, because it sometimes is on the desktop — and it is able to working offline.
Normal productiveness and safety
Two-factor authentication is a crucial method to defend your most vital accounts, and Authy’s the most effective choices on the market for producing and managing 2FA codes. If you would like to have the ability to entry codes out of your Chromebook along with your telephone, the Authy Android app is the best way to do it.
There isn’t any scarcity of commendable VPN companies that’ll run straight inside Chrome, however in the event you’re already paying for Google’s Google One subscription service — which supplies you additional storage throughout all Google companies for as little as two bucks a month — you robotically get entry to Google’s personal VPN for encrypting your entire knowledge transfers. And whereas Google would not actively promote this truth, you can set up the Google One Android app in your Chromebook and activate that function.
Maps’ internet interface is not any slouch, however the Android app provides you a slew of time-saving contact gestures in addition to helpful extras like visitors alert notifications. And — yup, you guessed it — it could actually work offline as wanted.
Perhaps you utilize your Chromebook along side a Home windows or Mac laptop. If that’s the case, Duet Show is simply the software for you. Set up the app in your Chrome OS system after which set up the companion program in your different laptop, and your Chromebook can flip right into a wi-fi second show on your Mac or PC. Hey, no want to decide on — you may have the very best of each worlds!
Talking of getting the very best of each worlds, in the event you just like the Chrome OS setting however generally end up needing to see the universe by means of an alternate lens, keep in mind which you could set up secondary browsers by snagging their Android variations. (If the total desktop-level shopping expertise is what you are after, then the Linux variations are what you will want.)