- More tools for advanced Chromebook users
Using Android apps through the Google Play Store on Chromebooks is more popular than ever and is something no other type of computer can do. Through the Play Store, Chromebooks can access many of the same apps that are on your phone. The user experience with some apps is hit and miss, even on the best Chromebooks, and some apps are unfortunately not available on Chrome OS. Here are our favorite and most useful Android apps that work well on Chromebooks.
Unsurprisingly, the most popular music streaming service has a great app wherever you listen. The Home, Search, and Your Library navigation tabs are located at the top left, with information about what’s currently playing below them. On the right, you can browse songs and podcasts just like you would on your Android phone. It is also superior to Spotify’s desktop client and web app. The app scales well to your screen and is very responsive, making for a good overall experience. Spotify has a free tier, but the premium tier allows you to download songs for offline listening, skip unlimited songs, and listen without ads.
Squid is one of the best note taking options on a Chromebook, although Google Cursive is a solid web-based alternative. It works best with Chromebooks with pens or styluses, but can also be used with a mouse or finger. The app allows you to write and draw diagrams on a virtual notepad. You can change the color and thickness of your input device, as well as the background style of your note. These features, combined with gesture support, make navigation simple and intuitive.
Squid allows you to export your notes in a variety of file types, including a Squid note, so other Squid users can edit them too. It saves the notes in vector format, preserving the visual integrity of your notes at any zoom level. The premium version extends the input device and wallpaper options.
Netflix makes watching on Chromebooks as easy as anywhere else. The streaming giant offers a large library of original series along with television shows and movies from around the world. Netflix allows you to download a lot of shows and movies to watch without an internet connection, something you can’t do through the web app. Netflix requires a subscription, but offers several affordable plans.
Photo editing is a pain point for many Chromebook users, but the Adobe Lightroom app is a solid solution. Lightroom is intuitive and easy to use. The app includes the standard features you would expect, such as quick editing presets, masking tools, and AI recommendations. The interface includes sliders and filters for quick edits. Lightroom is free, but you need a paid subscription for cloud backup, access to multiple devices, and other premium features.
Taken from the listing in the Chrome Web Store
It’s hard to remember all your passwords, but password managers can do the heavy lifting. Bitwarden is our top pick for Chromebook password managers. The app allows you to store passwords, banking details, and other sensitive information in one encrypted location. The service can autofill or generate passwords and has two-factor authentication. The premium plan adds 1GB of cloud storage, additional two-step verification methods, and security reports, among other things.
Gmail is arguably the most well-known email client, and the app has many other uses for Chromebook users. Since there is no default email client that resembles Windows’ Mail app, Gmail could be your de facto option. The app allows you to add your email accounts from different clients like Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo and many more in one place meaning you can close all those extra browser tabs.
Gmail’s layout is almost identical to the Android app for your phone. On the left is the list of your emails and on the right is your currently selected email. On the far left are buttons to change the inbox category and at the bottom a button to compose a new email. The Android app also allows you to access your emails offline, which is a definite advantage over the web version.
Stack makes scanning important documents easy. The app comes from Google’s Area 120 experimental team. With Stack you can scan, edit and sort PDFs into different stacks. These files are stored in the cloud and can be stored in Google Drive for added security. If your Chromebook has a camera, you can use it to scan documents. Otherwise, managing all your files on a screen larger than your phone is quite handy, even if the app doesn’t scale perfectly. Using Stack is fairly intuitive and is a great way to organize your files.
Android apps on Chromebooks have come a long way, and the apps on this list are proof of that. Try some of the best Google Chrome extensions to further enhance your Chromebook experience.
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