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Install Android Studio on an ARM-powered Chromebook


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Android Studio is the all-in-one construction environment where developers can build applications for Android, Wear, Android TV, and Android Auto. Google’s in-house IDE has long offered official builds for Windows, macOS, and Linux but recent updates to ChromeOS have brought Android Studio to select Chromebooks. I say select because Android Studio requires a Chromebook that supports Linux packages. If your Chromebook was released in the past three years, chances are high that you have Linux support and you 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-heavy IDE. While you can technically install Android Studio on any Intel-based Chromebook, Google recommends the following specs for optimal performance and user experience.

System requirements for Android Studio

  • 8 GB RAM or more recommended
  • 4 GB of available disk space minimum
  • 1280 x 800 minimum screen resolution
  • Intel i5 or higher (U series or higher) recommended

If you have all of those pieces in place, you’re good to go. You can get started by setting up the Linux environment on your Chromebook, downloading the ChromeOS-specific build of Android Studio, and launching your first project. If you have an ARM-powered Chromebook, you may have given up on the idea of running Android Studio. Sure, you can install Linux applications on a Chromebook that’s powered by Snapdragon or MediaTek. Unfortunately, the architecture of the Linux container on an ARM-based Chromebook isn’t compatible with Android Studio and many other Linux apps that run natively on x86 devices. When you attempt to install Android Studio on a device such as the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5, you’ll quickly be greeted with the error message you see below.

linux error when installing android studio on an arm chromebook

Thankfully, you aren’t tethered to the arm64 architecture that is inherent to the Linux container on your Chromebook. Since the Linux container and its virtualization environment run independently of ChromeOS, you can add whatever architecture you like. It only takes one simple line of code and some dependency additions to get Android Studio up and running on an ARM-powered Chromebook. Let’s take a look at exactly how to do it.

Caveats: Before we start, understand that there is a reason that Google has recommended specs for running Android Studio. It is a bit of a resource hog. ARM devices are going to struggle running the IDE and may even freeze or crash. That said, you can still give it a try and see if you are able to do the work you need to do on your Chromebook.

Okay. Now, we can move on to installing Android Studio. First, you will need to enable 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 proper architecture to the Linux container that will make our environment compatible with Android Studio. Do this by typing or pasting 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 attempt to install and launch the IDE at this point, Android Studio will spit out this error: Cannot 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 and then, grab a cup of coffee because the installation will take a few minutes.

sudo apt install default-jre default-jdk

Now, you’re all set to download and install Android Studio. You can find the ChromeOS build of Android Studio here. Once you have it downloaded, open your files folder and double-click the .deb package to begin the installation. You will need to ensure that your Downloads folder is shared with Linux or you can drag the Android Studio .deb file to your Linux folder before you start the installation. That’s it. Once 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, there you go. You now 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’ve hit a roadblock trying to install a specific application, take some time to research the native architecture of the package in question. Chances are, you can add the necessary architecture and install the app you need.

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