Android games to work without a touchscreen on ChromeOS

Android apps have been compatible with ChromeOS for a few years now. It was one of the biggest changes to the OS and it meant you could start playing your favourite Android games on your Chromebook.

The issue back then was that there weren’t many Chromebooks that supported a touchscreen. This has changed a lot in the last couple of years, as many devices now have touchscreen capability. It’s still the case though that some Chromebooks do not offer touchscreen capability.

If you end up buying a Chromebook without a touchscreen you may find playing some Android games difficult. This is because Android apps were initially created for Android phones and tablets. Therefore, developers only had to consider making their apps work with a touchscreen.

Android apps work much better with ChromeOS

I remember what it was like using a lot of Android apps when it was first introduced to ChromeOS. It wasn’t a great experience because so many of them simply didn’t work too well without a touchscreen. This made a lot of Android apps unusable on a Chromebook back in 2019.

Google has been working hard to encourage developers to fix this. The good news is this has been happening, and many Android apps work well even if you don’t have access to a touchscreen. However, Android games where you don’t have a touchscreen can still be hit and miss.

It’s worth noting that many Chromebooks now support touchscreen. I’d personally recommend trying to buy a Chromebook that has touchscreen capability. You’ll find plenty available including many in my Top Ten Chromebooks in 2022.

Android games to work with keyboard commands

According to Android Police from Chrome OS 105 some Android games will now work even if you don’t own a Chromebook with a touchscreen. This is because Google will be testing some games so they work with keyboard commands.

This means all the commands you would normally use when interacting with the display can be assigned to a key on your keyboard. For example, you could use the traditional gaming key commands such as ‘w’ for moving forward, ‘a’ to go left, ‘d’ to go right, and ‘s’ to go backwards.

gaming keys use on keyboard
Default keys used for commands in games

This will allow you to play Android games using keyboard commands, and the best thing is you’ll be able to assign the keys for each control. I much prefer this because the traditional key commands I’ve mentioned could be changed. For example, you could assign these commands to work with the arrow keys found at the bottom right of your keyboard.

More games will be added if it goes well

If it works well Google will be looking at adding further games in the future. Therefore, if your favourite Android game isn’t compatible with a keyboard straight away, you may find it’s added at a later date. This is going to be great news for anyone who owns a Chromebook without a touchscreen.

Although this is a welcome change; it’s worth pointing out this will not stop Google from encouraging Android app developers to make their apps more compatible with ChromeOS. I was glad to hear this because this new test could have stopped developers from making changes needed to make apps work better on the Chromebook.

Essentially this means, this new change from Chrome OS 105 should only be a short-term measure. Providing developers continue to change their apps so they work with keyboard commands. This workaround should only be needed until most apps have been updated by developers.

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