Install Android Studio on an ARM-powered Chromebook
Android Studio is the all-in-one build environment where developers can build apps for Android, Wear, Android TV, and Android Auto. Google’s internal IDE has long offered official versions for Windows, macOS, and Linux, but recent ChromeOS updates have caused Android Studio to select Chromebooks. I say select because Android Studio requires a Chromebook that supports Linux packages. If your Chromebook was released within the last three years, chances are you have Linux support and can install Android Studio.
With that stipulation out of the way, your only other concern is having a device powerful enough to run the resource-intensive IDE. Although you can technically install Android Studio on any Intel-based Chromebook, Google recommends the following specifications for optimal performance and user experience.
System requirements for Android Studio
- 8 GB of RAM or more recommended
- 4 GB minimum available disk space
- Minimum screen resolution of 1280 x 800
- Intel i5 or better (U-series or better) recommended
If you have all of these pieces in place, you are good to go. You can start by setting up the Linux environment on your Chromebook, downloading the ChromeOS-specific version of Android Studio, and launching your first project. If you have an ARM-powered Chromebook, you might have given up on running Android Studio. Sure, you can install Linux apps on a Chromebook powered by Snapdragon or MediaTek. Unfortunately, the Linux container architecture on an ARM-based Chromebook is not compatible with Android Studio and many other Linux apps that run natively on x86 devices. When you try to install Android Studio on a device like the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5, you will quickly be greeted with the error message you see below.
Luckily, you’re not tied to the inherent arm64 architecture of your Chromebook’s Linux container. Since the Linux container and its virtualization environment operate independently of ChromeOS, you can add any architecture you want. It only takes a single line of code and a few dependency additions to get Android Studio up and running on an ARM-powered Chromebook. Let’s see exactly how to do it.
Warnings : Before you begin, understand that there is a reason why Google has recommended specs for running Android Studio. It’s a bit of a resource hog. ARM devices will have trouble running the IDE and may even freeze or crash. That said, you can always give it a try and see if you’re able to do the job you need to do on your Chromebook.
OK. Now we can move on to installing Android Studio. First, you will need to activate the Linux environment on your Chromebook. You can find Linux in the ChromeOS settings menu under the Developers tab. Learn more about getting started with Linux on ChromeOS here. Next, we need to add the appropriate architecture to the Linux container that will make our environment compatible with Android Studio. To do this, type or paste the following commands into your Linux terminal one at a time.
sudo dpkg --add-architecture amd64 sudo apt update
That’s it for the architecture but we still need some dependencies before we can launch Android Studio. If you try to install and launch the IDE at this point, Android Studio will spit out this error: Unable to start Android Studio. No JDK found. JDK is the Java Development Kit and is required to run Android Studio. To install JDK and all its dependencies, run the following command in the Linux terminal. Press “Y” or enter when prompted, then grab a cup of coffee as the install will take a few minutes.
sudo apt install default-jre default-jdk
Now you are ready to download and install Android Studio. You can find the ChromeOS version of Android Studio here. Once you have downloaded it, open your files folder and double click on the .deb package to begin the installation. You’ll need to make sure your Downloads folder is shared with Linux or you can drag the Android Studio .deb file into your Linux folder before you start installing. That’s it. When the process is complete, you should have an Android Studio icon in your app launcher. Alternatively, you can launch Android Studio from the terminal with the command studio.sh from the default installation directory: /opt/android-studio/bin/studio.sh.
So this is it. Now you know how to install and run Android Studio on an ARM-based ChromeOS device. This method of adding another architecture is very useful for a wide range of Linux packages. If you encounter an obstacle while trying to install a specific application, take the time to research the native architecture of the package in question. Chances are you can add the necessary architecture and install the application you need.