One of the great things about Chrome OS is that it can run Android applications natively, making it a great supplement for an Android smartphone for when you’re on the go. You can play your favorite Android games or run your favorite Android apps all from your laptop, while also retaining all of the productivity features from the entirety of Google’s suite of applications.
Android apps on Chrome OS aren’t perfect, however, and one issue which may annoy users is the inability of Android apps to access a USB drive on the device. While this limitation may be understandable on Android phones given that USB-A ports aren’t really prevalent, it can be frustrating since Chromebooks usually have a USB-A port or two.
Now, however, a commit in the Chrome OS Gerrit shows that Google may soon rectify the issue. The commit adds a new ARC flag to “allow Android apps to use USB host feature on ChromeOS devices.” This should mean that in the next Chrome OS dev build, whenever it is available, Android apps can access files stored on USB devices plugged into the Chromebook.
This change will be beneficial to media players, productivity apps, or any other Android-exclusive app that you might want to run on Chrome OS which should have access to external USB drives. It’s not a major addition to ARC on Chrome OS by any means, but it’s something we’ve seen users complain about on various Chrome OS forums, so it’s nice to see the feature be included. You’ll see this addition in the coming months on the stable channel, so if it’s helpful to you then keep an eye out on the Chrome flags page.