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Our 6 favorite Android apps for your Chromebook

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Surfing the internet is excellent on any nifty Chromebook thanks to Google’s extremely lightweight, compact ChromeOS (operating system). The only downside to using ChromeOS is that Chromebooks can’t download programs as easily compared to a Windows device. However, this problem gets patched using the Google Play Store — Android’s number one source for games, apps, and add-ons.

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The Play Store allows Chromebook users to access many of the top Android apps they’ve grown accustomed to using on their phones. Whether you want to play Rush Rally Origins or draw doodles with the Sketchbook app, you can do these activities on any Chromebook. Plus, the advantage of having a bigger screen means you will have a better, more immersive experience with your favorite apps and games. But not all apps are optimized for Chromebooks, so we’ve highlighted the apps that will guarantee to enhance your ChromeOS experience.

One-stop shop for all video and music files

VLC Media Player

Publish date
February 4, 2015

In-app purchases
None

ChromeOS support
✅ Yes

App Publisher
Videolabs

Categories
Video players & editors

Default media players on computer operating systems are often poorly designed and not as useful as users would like. VLC Media Player, one of the most trusted video players on any platform for many years, is a great alternative. VLC is more than a video player, as it also plays music. The inherent versatility of this app means it will support most media codecs and other playback features, including subtitles. You can also browse your locally saved files to find the file you want to play.

The app is free and open source, so it’s a great option for playing whatever media you want without ads. The app’s layout is basic, if not outdated, but it has some awesome built-in features like brightness adjustment, a sleep timer, and an equalizer. The app defaults to a mobile layout, but the resizing option still works wonders, essential for supporting larger screens (like a Chromebook).

2 Squid

Seamless digital note-taking with built-in stylus support

squid large icon imprinted on google play store

Squid

Publish date
March 28, 2012

In-app purchases
$1 – $15

ChromeOS support
✅ Yes

App Publisher
Steadfast Innovation, LLC

Categories
Productivity

Squid is unmatched when it comes to taking notes on a Chromebook, though Google Cursive is a solid web-based alternative. It works best with Chromebooks that are compatible with a pen or stylus, but it also works with a mouse or your finger. Google has worked with the app’s developers to decrease latency, which makes using the app feel like you’re writing on real paper.

Squid also allows you to export your notes in various file types, including a Squid note so that other Squid users can access and edit them. It stores the notes in a vector format, keeping your notes’ visual integrity at any zoom level. The premium version expands the input device and background options but isn’t necessary for a great experience.

3 Netflix

Top entertainment app with reliable performance and quality

netflix play store icon

Netflix

Publish date
May 5, 2011

In-app purchases
None

ChromeOS support
✅ Yes

App Publisher
Netflix, Inc.

Categories
Streaming content

Netflix emphasizes its ability to watch its content anywhere, and Chromebooks are no exception. The streaming giant offers a large library of original series alongside a variety of television shows and films from around the globe.

The Android app allows you to download any shows or movies in the catalog and watch them without an internet connection. This is a distinct advantage over the web app that is useful whether you’re commuting to work or on vacation. Still, the Android app limits streaming to 480p, so the web version may be the way to go for the best quality if you have access to an internet connection. Netflix requires a subscription but offers several affordable plans to suit your situation.

4 Adobe Lightroom

Powerful photo editing and management for professionals and hobbyists

adobe lightroom playstore square icon

Adobe Lightroom

Publish date
January 14, 2015

In-app purchases
$2 – $120

ChromeOS support
✅ Yes

App Publisher
Adobe

Categories
Video players & editors

Photo editing is a commonly cited downside of owning a Chromebook, but the Adobe Lightroom app proves the critics wrong. Lightroom is intuitive and easy to use and includes standard editing features such as quick editing presets, masking tools, and AI recommendations. The interface includes sliders and filters to make editing quick and easy.

There are even tutorials in the app that help you learn the skills necessary to take your editing game to the next level. Lightroom is free, but you’ll need a paid subscription for cloud backup, multi-device access, and other premium features.

5 Bitwarden

The most trusted free option for password management

bitwarden play store square icon

Bitwarden

Publish date
August 27, 2016

In-app purchases
None

Subscription

✅ Yes (beyond core features)

ChromeOS support
✅ Yes

App Publisher
Bitwarden Inc.

Categories
Productivity

Remembering all your passwords is a difficult yet important task, especially as hackers get more clever and capable. Password managers are the solution, and Bitwarden is one of the best. The app stores passwords, banking information, and other sensitive information in a single encrypted location. The service can autofill or generate passwords for you and has two-factor authentication available to make it even more secure.

The premium membership adds 1GB of cloud storage, additional two-step verification methods, and security reports, among other features.

6 Google One

Google’s premium storage service and plans

google one square icon

Google One

Publish date
March 24, 2018

In-app purchases
$1 – $250

ChromeOS support
✅ Yes

App Publisher
Google LLC

Categories
Storage and backup

Google One is a useful tool for managing device storage and backups across your account. This app backs up your device data and helps you manage your Google account storage to make sure you are within your limit. There are several plans with associated benefits, and you’ll get some awesome Google One perks depending on your chosen plan.

If you have a 100GB or larger plan, you can use the included VPN on your Chromebook through the Google One app. This VPN used to only be available on a phone and to subscribers of higher tiers, so if you have the VPN and a Chromebook, Google One is a must-install app.

Play around with the best apps for Chromebooks

Chromebooks are still a work in progress. Unfortunately, getting the most optimized app experience with ChromeOS isn’t always in the cards. But it doesn’t mean Google isn’t figuring out a solution; in fact, Google has a new initiative to ensure a brand new line of Chromebooks output a similar, higher quality performance than what we’ve previously seen.

By introducing the Chromebook Plus program, Google has pushed Chromebooks to become more than just adequate devices for productivity. So soon, ChromeOS will get bigger and better, thanks to the jam-packed quality-of-life features the Plus models offer. But in the meantime, you can level up your Chromebook web browsing experience by checking out these fantastic extensions for Google Chrome.

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