How to install and use Archon Custom Runtime (run APK on Chrome PC)

manifest.json example convert apk to google chrome

Archon Custom Runtime is an extension for the desktop version of Google Chrome, created by the independent developer «Vladikoff». It works as an environment in said browser, where you can run Android applications or APKs. The only requirement is that you have the 64-bit version of Chrome installed on your PC.

Once Archon is installed, you will have to load the APK that you want to run as well as if it were an extension, but before it must receive a prior treatment to be “recognized” by the browser. You can do this on your own, simply get these “APKs” on Reddit or use an application that gives them this treatment in one tap.

angry birs intro running on google chrome angry birds for android on google chrome angry birds for android on google chrome 2048 android game running in google chrome browser 2048 android game running in google chrome browser

How to install ARChon Custom Runtime

  1. Download this ZIP file and unzip it on the desktop. The result will be a folder named vladikoff-archon-44bc9ba24037 .
  2. Open the Google Chrome extensions page ( chrome://extensions ) and check the “Developer mode” box.
  3. Click the “Load unzipped extension” button and in the file explorer that will appear, find and select the folder vladikoff-archon-44bc9ba24037 that was unzipped in the first step.

load unzipped exstension apk google chrome

Load and run the APK in Chrome

For now I will use the APK that has already become an extension of the 2048 game for Android that only needs to be installed in Chrome. Later I will teach you where to get or how to create these «APKs».

  1. Download this converted APK (.ZIP file).
  2. Unzip the ZIP on the desktop (the result will be a folder named com.uberspot.a2048.android ).
  3. Open the Chrome extensions page again, click on the “Load unzipped extension” button, search for and choose the com.uberspot.a2048.android folder .
  4. Ignore the warning messages and click on the “Start” link to launch the game.

start android game 2048 android in google chrome

How to get or create an «APK» for Chrome

1. Reddit

On reddit users are publishing already converted APKs of various applications, ready to be installed in Chrome in the way indicated above.

2. Chrome APK Packager

This Android application is available from XDA-Developers and is capable of converting installed applications and APKs stored in memory into ZIP files that you can upload to Chrome as I indicated before.

3. chromeos-apk

This much more tedious alternative is a tool that you must install in the operating system to be able to convert an APK into an extension for Chrome using text commands.

Windows

  1. Install the node.js .msi “Stable” utility from here.
  2. Restart the PC (this is important!)
  3. Open a terminal window (type cmd in the search box of the start menu and press Enter) and type the following command:

npm install chromeos-apk -g

  1. Press Enter to execute said command
Successful installation of chromeos-apk tool on Windows Successful installation of chromeos-apk tool on Windows

Successful installation of chromeos-apk tool on Windows

OS X and Linux

  1. Run the command  sudo apt-get install npm (for Ubuntu run the following command: sudo apt-get install lib32stdc++6 )
  2. Download node.js ( nodejs.org )
  3. Unzip the .tar.gz file obtained in the download.
  4. Open a terminal window in the unzipped folder containing node.js and run the following commands in order:

./configure

make

make install

  1. Restart the computer and after that run this command  sudo npm install chromeos-apk -g
  2. To finish and get the latest version of the tool, run the following command:

sudo npm install -g [email protected]

How to use chromeos-apk to generate APKs

Once chromeos-apk is installed, the first thing to do is get the APK of the desired Android application (here are several tools for that). Then, open a terminal window in the folder where that APK is (in Windows press Shift + Right-click on an empty space in the folder. Click on “Open command window here”). Then run the following command:

chromeos-apk nombre.de.paquete.apk

Obviously you should change “package.name.apk” to the name of the application package.

Successful generation of the modified APKs of WhatsApp and Retrica applications Successful generation of the modified APKs of WhatsApp and Retrica applications

Successful generation of the modified APKs of WhatsApp and Retrica applications

This will generate the folder or “extension” for Chrome that will only remain to install or load in the browser in the same way mentioned before. That is, on the extensions page, use the “Load unzipped extension” option and then choose the folder.

4. From a «template»

This is the most technical method:

  • Download from Google Play the APK of the desired Android application. Note the “package name” of the application (to know this, for example, if the URL of the application in Google Play is https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rovio.angrybirds , the name of the package will be com.rovio.angrybirds ).
  • Download this ZIP and unzip it. Of the resulting content, only the folder _template inside is of interest  (forget the rest of the content). Copy this folder to the desktop and rename it: put the name of the application package pointed out before (example: com.rovio.angrybirds )
  • In the folder you just renamed ( com.rovio.angrybirds , in our example), put the APK file obtained at the beginning in the following path: com.rovio.angrybirds/vendor/chromium/crx  (it must be inside the crx folder).
  • Open the manifest.json file inside the renamed folder and edit it (open it with a text editor) to fit the downloaded APK. For our example, these are the parameters that need to be changed:

* Delete the parameter “Key”
* apkList: Here must be the exact name of the downloaded APK file (Example: com.rovio.angrybirds.apk )
* name: Here is the name of the application package that was pointed out at the beginning (Example: com.rovio.angrybirds )
* packageName: goes the same as in name (Example: com.rovio.angrybirds )

Note : By default, the formFactor and orientation parameters have the values ​​of “phone” and “portrait” respectively. In case the app doesn’t run and freezes on the Android logo when you open it, its alternative values ​​can be used:

* “FormFactor”: “phone” (the alternative value would be “tablet”)
* “orientation”: “portrait” (the alternative value would be “landscape”)

manifest.json example convert apk to google chrome

Finally load the folder as an extension in Google Chrome in the way I already indicated.

conclusion

Archon Custom Runtime is not a foolproof tool. Many APKs may not work. Although I recommend using APKs from Google Play, this is not a guarantee. In my case, for example, applications like WhatsApp and Retrica did not work (they opened and closed immediately). Games like 2048, Angry Birds, and Duet ran smoothly. If it doesn’t work for you, I suggest trying the ARC Welder extension which has a similar purpose.

Source : Github

Note : Article written in 2014, updated to the date indicated in the heading. Some comments may refer to older versions of this article.

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