Chrome OS continues to grow in popularity, thanks in part to the whole host of feature additions that make it an OS which can be recommended for a variety of use cases. Over the past few months, we have seen notable additions such as Linux app support, fullscreen launcher in tablet mode, video recording support, swipe gesture for overview screen, app shortcuts, GBoard and even PiP support—all of these features have either been added or will go live soon.
Banking on this growing popularity, Google has now released a Chrome OS emulator in Android Studio. This will allow developers to develop and test their apps on a Chrome OS device such as a Google Pixelbook, without needing to have the physical hardware in hand.
To use a Chrome OS emulator, you need to download and install Android Studio first. Then, install the Chrome OS SDK add-ons by adding the following name and URL in Android Studio > Tools > SDK Manager > SDK Update Sites:
Chrome OS Repository: https://storage.googleapis.com/chrome_os_emulator/addon2-1.xml
Chrome OS System Images: https://storage.googleapis.com/chrome_os_emulator/sys-img2-1.xml
Once the system images are downloaded and installed, you can use the AVD Manager to create a Chrome OS virtual device, which in this case is a Pixelbook.
Do note that the ability to run Android apps on the emulator is disabled until you sign in with a valid Google account. And since this is an emulator, you can expect it run slower than an actual Chrome OS device. Google also recommends increasing the RAM for the AVD to 2048 MB from the default 1536 MB. There are a few more known issues with the emulator, which you can read over at the Android Developers webpage.
Having an emulator to test on really helps developers make quality apps as it provides an additional medium to test their app on. For smaller development projects, it might even remove the cost involved in purchasing separate hardware, making the whole process cheaper and more lucrative to undertake. Seeing how Google is pushing Chrome OS, this might just be the best time for developers to jump on the bandwagon.
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