Best Android Apps for Your Chromebook 2020

Android apps on Chrome
Android apps on Chrome (Image credit: Android Central)

While Chrome OS on the whole was a fantastic idea, especially for those wanting a computer on a budget, it was hampered for quite some time. Then, Google decided to enhance the experience by bringing the Google Play Store to Chromebooks. Now, you have access to more apps than you know what to do with. While not every app from your phone is available on a Chromebook, we still found some of the best that you'll need beyond just the best Chromebook apps and Chrome extensions.

Keep in touch with everyone

Discord Pixel Slate

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Communication is key, especially with something like a Chromebook and the Play Store, which makes it so you don't have to rely on the browser. Some messaging apps are available in the browser, but you don't get all of the same benefits as the Play Store version. Whether you're trying to collaborate or catch up with family, these are the apps to keep in contact with everyone.

Stay on top of your tasks

Google Keep on Chromebook

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Task management is an annoying necessity, even if it's for something as simple as a packing or grocery list. Thankfully, with these to-do apps, you'll be able to manage any project, big or small, easier than ever from your Chromebook.

Passwords protected

1Password X on Pixelbook

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

The internet is a wonderful place to be, but with all of the different accounts you need, it's impossible to remember all of your passwords. You never want to use the same password twice, and with these password managers you'll not only be able to create unique passwords and manage them, but you can also be notified if one's been involved in a data breach.

Keep it social

Twitter Pixel Slate

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

It's no fun having a slew of browser windows open when you're hopping between social media networks. With the Play Store, you can now download the accompanying app for your favorite network, then browse and share to your heart's content.

Relax with some movies or TV shows

Netflix on Lenovo 500e

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

There's nothing like sitting back with a good movie at the end of a long day. Thankfully there are quite a few streaming services for you to pick and choose from. Some make it possible to watch live TV, while others give you access to some classics you may have forgotten.

Edit those photos and videos

Google Photos is my friend

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Regardless of if you are taking pictures with your smartphone, DSLR, or your Chromebook, you'll likely want to run them through a photo editor. Maybe you just need an app to manage and back all of them up. These are the best apps to manage and edit your photos and videos.

Try a different browser

Brave Browser Pixel Slate

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

If you're working from a Chromebook, it's unlikely that you would realize that there are other browser apps available. So no, you are not just "stuck" with Chrome and the Play Store opens the door for you to use many popular third-party browsers on your Chromebook.

Triage those emails

Newton Mail Pixel Slate

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

If you've had the same email for years, there's a pretty good chance that it's turned into a digital junk drawer. But you don't want to completely ignore all of your emails if something important arrives in your Inbox. These are our favorite email apps that you can download and use on your Chromebook, instead of being relegated to a browser window for every email address you have.

It's time to get some work done

Doodling on HP Chromebook

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

For many, productivity is the name of the game and it's extremely important to have all of the right tools to get the job done. On every Chromebook, you already have access to Google's suite of tools, but the Play Store is home to so many others that you'll be able to turn your Chromebook into a digital Swiss Army knife to get stuff done.

Necessary Utilities

Duet Display Imac Chromebook

Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

Chrome OS has evolved to include many features and utilities without the need to download something new. However, the beauty of the Play Store is that you can download something different if Google's option isn't great for you. Or maybe you need to turn your Chromebook into a second display — you can do that easily now.

Your own portable radio

Spotify Pixel Slate Hero

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Almost nobody likes to sit in silence throughout the day, and whether it's music or podcasts, you'll want to listen to something. These apps give you the ability to have your own portable radio and listen to whatever suits your mood at that time.

Android Apps on Chrome OS are amazing

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Chromebok Pixelbook Apps Hero

Source: Chris Wedel/Android Central (Image credit: Source: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

The importance of having the Play Store on your Chromebook has never been higher. This is especially true considering Google announced that the Chrome Web Store for Apps would be going away beginning in 2020 and being closed completely by the end of 2022. So now with the Play Store, you can download many of the same apps that are in the Web Store, along with some new ones that you have been using on your phone or tablet.

And while you might think that Android apps may not work properly on your Chromebook, you'd want to think again. Many of these apps work right out of the box and work the same way that they do on your phone. The reason for that is because they are the same apps!

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • I love Pocket Casts but I disagree that it's a good app on Chromebooks. It does not sync well with the Chrome and app versions at all. It is something that has never been fixed.
  • Unclouded is a bad choice. Dropbox integration has been broken for a long time and the developer has not been replying to all the people complaining or posted a fix. Read the app reviews. Basically it's broken and the money gone.
  • ES File Explorer does this pretty well. I have my Drive, Dropbox, and Box accounts set up and I can move files around just as Jerry described for Unclouded.
  • Don't care for Android on Chrome OS, so far. Not great scaling. Somehow I got a bunch of photos displaying on my Chromebook as view only. I had no way to take them off until adding Adroid file app, then deleting them. Not sure how the images got there to begin with, as they seem to be some from another Cloud service, but I may have accidentally synced them somehow on my Windows PC to Gdrive. Anyway, for the most part using Android on Chromebook, such as Outlook mail & calendar, renders very tiny fonts.
    If they are going to add Android, they should also add Android Files Manager as standard. I have removed Google Play which removes Android on my Chromebook. Once Chrome OS gets the scaling for OS, this may change. Overall, I find I can do the most simply using browser extensions or apps, such as Polarr, which works great.
  • No games? Final Fantasy 9 works awesome on my chromebook plus. I for one am waiting for reicast to update for modern versions of android.
  • I personally haven't found any use for it yet.
  • I tried running Firefox on my Chromebook, but when I tried accessing one of my other Google accounts, it froze.
  • Better to enable Linux beta, open terminal and do the sudo apt-get install iceweasel thing ...
  • Lots of good advice in this article but one glaring error. The Android Zoom app is very poor compared to the Zoom app in the Chrome Web Store. For instance, the Android app will only display four participants in Gallery View whereas the CWS version shows 16.
  • And even the version in the Chrome web store is disgustingly inadequate. Unless you have one of 3 conditions. 1. You're having a one on one.
    2. You have nothing (and I mean NOTHING) running in the background.
    3. You have a high end CPU and plenty of RAM. Running on a Pixel Slate i5 should be sufficient for this app, but guess what? It stinks! There's no reason for you this day and age that Zoom can't get it's act together.
  • I've heard the Slate has lag issues in general compared to similarly spec'd alternatives.