How to run Android app in Chrome using ARChon

The ARChon Runtime can be used to run Android apps in Chrome. This means you can run Android apps on any OS where Chrome runs: Windows or Linux.

  • Download the ARChon Runtime that matches your platform from here.
  • Unzip the downloaded file, rename its directory to something sensible and place it in a directory that is permanent. This is because Chrome will not install this runtime, but access it from this directory whenever it starts.
  • Open Chrome, go to chrome://extensions. Enable Developer Mode. Click Load unpacked extension and choose the directory you unzipped ARChon Runtime to. Chrome will load the extension and ARChon Runtime will appear among the extensions.
  • On your Android device, install ARChon Packager from the Google Play Store.
  • Open the ARChon Packager app and choose the app you want to be packaged. It will produce a zip file and store it in a ChromeAPKs directory. Transfer that zip to your computer.
  • Unzip the app file, rename its directory to something sensible and place it in a directory that is permanent.
  • Open Chrome, go to chrome://extensions and install the app just like you did for ARChon Runtime above.
  • To run the app, go to chrome://apps and click its icon. It should open and run.

Note that while I was able to run apps like this, they could not connect to the internet. I could not fix this problem.

Tried with: ARChon Runtime 2.1.0 Beta, ARChon Packager 0.9.6, Chrome 51.0.2704.103 (64-bit) and Ubuntu 15.10

SimpleNote

A smartphone is a great tool to take notes because it is with us everywhere. There are many notepad apps for Android that fit the bill, but I have taken a liking to SimpleNote. This is from Automattic, the folks behind WordPress. It can be installed from the Play Store here.

In SimpleNote, you can keep multiple note files. The first line you type in each is shown as the title. Simple formatting options are available. And the best part is that by creating a login, you can have your notes synced across multiple Android devices! There is even a web app to check your notes when your phone is down.

Another trick I use is to share a link from Firefox on my PC to my Android device. I just paste the link in the web app of SimpleNote and copy it up on my Android device.

X-plore file manager for Android

X-plore is a two-pane file manager for Android devices. It can be installed from the Play Store here.

This file manager will appeal to all you oldies coming from Windows or Linux. It is loaded with features and looks and operates like the traditional two-pane file managers. The quirky UI is actually very intuitive and easy to use once you get used to it.

The features I love in X-plore:

  • Support for the Copy.com cloud storage. So, I can browse and operate on all my online files directly from the file explorer. Music and video files can be played directly. This eliminates the need to install the Copy.com app.

  • Support for UPnP/DLNA servers. The videos, music and pictures served by a media server appear directly as a filesystem hierarchy. The videos and music files can be played directly. This eliminates the need for a separate UPnP/DLNA client app.

  • Audio files in cloud storage or UPnP/DLNA servers can be operated on and played in a fully featured in-built music player. What I like is that I can add all files under a directory to the playlist of the music player. This music player can also be used by all other apps to play music files. Do note that the music player is a paid feature. After you play 2 songs, the app will indicate that you pay the developer for 3 beers, a very reasonable price 🙂

Tried with: X-plore 3.75, Android 5.0.2 and Moto G2 (XT1068)

DroidUPnP

DroidUPnP is a simple UPnP/DLNA client for Android devices. The UI is simple and modern. It was able to detect my ReadyMedia server and I was able to browse its contents.

However, it struggled to open renderer for my content and I could not find a good music player interface. This was a deal breaker for me.

Tried with: DroidUPnP 2.3.0, Android 5.0.2 and Moto G2 (XT1068)

UPnPlayer

UPnPlayer is a simple UPnP/DLNA client for Android devices. The UI is old and rudimentary. It was able to detect my ReadyMedia server and I was able to browse its contents. However, I could not figure out how to add multiple music files and maintain a playlist. That was a deal breaker for me.

Tried with: UPnPlayer 2.1.1, Android 5.0.2 and Moto G2 (XT1068)

Ice Cold Apps SSH Server app for Android

The SSH Server app from Ice Cold Apps enables you to SSH into any Android device. I use this to SSH from my Ubuntu computers to my Android devices, both connected to my home wireless network.

  • If you have not rooted your phone, you will not be able to access privileged directories and files. You will also have to pick a port number that is bigger than 1024.

  • First, create a Server and create a User in the app. Remember to specify a port number that is bigger than 1024. Start the server to run the SSH server.

  • SSH to the Android device using its IP address, the username you created and the port you specified. You will be asked to accept its key and will be prompted to enter the password you specified earlier:

$ ssh joe@192.168.0.200 -p 1700
  • Assign a static IP address to your Android device for easier access, so that you do not have to look up what IP address has been assigned to it every time.

Tried with: SSH Server 3.1, Moto G2 (XT1068) and Ubuntu 14.04

Screen Rotation Control app for Android

Screen Rotation Control is a rotation app for Android.

  • It uses the old Android UI from years ago.
  • Another disadvantage is that it shows ads too.

Since there are other modern functionally similar apps without ads, there is no reason to use this one.

Tried with: Screen Rotation Control 1.0.7, Android 5.0.2 and Moto G2 (XT1068)

Set Orientation app for Android

Set Orientation is the first app for Android that I used to set rotation mode on my phone. This is useful when your rotation sensor is not working correctly or you want to force landscape mode.

  • After installation, the app is accessible from the notification area. Tap it to choose the mode you want from dropdown.

  • Automatic will rotate in portrait, landscape and landscape (reverse) modes. Automatic (Full) also enables the portrait (reverse) mode.

  • Note that both the Automatic modes rotate the home screen too. I like this feature.

Tried with: Set Orientation 1.1.4, Android 5.0.2 and Moto G2 (XT1068)

Rotation Control app for Android

Rotation Control is an app for Android that makes it easy for you to set the rotation mode on your phone or tablet.

  • It shows all the supported rotation modes in notification area. This makes it very easy to choose or change a rotation mode.

  • If you want the home screen to also rotate then tap the Guard icon.

Tried with: Rotation Control 1.0, Android 5.0.2 and Moto G2 (XT1068)