New Commit Suggests Android Apps Could Soon Be Able to Read USB Drives on Chrome OS

While the growth of Android apps on Chrome OS has been great to see, it doesn’t mean it hasn’t been without its challenges or limitations.  One such limitation is the ability for those apps to read a USB drive attached to your Chromebook.  The Android app is completely blind to that drive being there and can’t access.  It looks like that could be changing.

A new commit in the Chrome OS Gerrit suggests that through a settings in Flags that Android apps can be given permission to access the USB drive attached to your Chromebook.

const char kArcUsbHostName[] = “Enable ARC USB host integration”;
const char kArcUsbHostDescription[] =
“Allow Android apps to use USB host feature on ChromeOS devices.”;

When enabled, this would allow your Android apps to see your USB drive on your Chromebook.

While this isn’t an orbit altering new feature, it will make the use of Android apps more integrated with Chrome OS itself as it takes down one of the barriers between them.  If you are one who stores a lot of photos or the like on a USB drive, you would be able to access them to edit them in Lightroom app for example.

A couple of things to note on this commit.  First, it hasn’t reached a developer build of the OS yet.  It could be the next one (Chrome 66) or it could be added in an update to the current Chrome 65 developer build.  Second, when it does hit the stable channel, the verbiage in the commit suggests that it will be disabled by default and you will need to enable it through chrome://flags on your device.  That could change but that’s how it reads today.