Hands-On with Asus Flip, and the Google Play Store

It’s finally happened, we here at Chromestory have finally got our hands on an Asus Chromebook Flip. That means we finally have the opportunity to see what all this Android on Chromebooks hub bub is all about.

The first thing I noticed of course was the Play Store icon on my shelf, which I cannot remove.

And naturally, the second thing I noticed was a bug. I opened the Play Store app, and whenever I moved my cursor to the right third of the Play Store app, the cursor would disappear until it popped out past the app. I rebooted, and the bug went away, and hasn’t come back since, so no biggie.

For the most part everything works the way you would expect. Android notifications integrate seamlessly with Chrome’s notifications. Apps have minimize, maximize and potrait/landscape toggle options.

The first app I tried installing was the Canon Print Service app. I wanted to see if I could print without using Google Cloud Print.

I was not able to find any printing joy, though. Here are the steps I took:

  1. Installed Canon Print Service
  2. Clicked on the notification
  3. Enabled Canon Print Service
  4. Clicked the Settings button
  5. Clicked Add Printer
  6. Typed IP address of my printer.
  7. Found printer.

After I successfully added my printer to the app, I installed Drive for Android, opened a document, and clicked Print. My printer showed up in the list of printers, but when I selected it and tapped Print, after a few seconds I got a print error. I was never able to get it to print without using Google Cloud Print. Oh well, it was worth a try.

The second app I tried was Skyforce, probably the best game for Android. It worked well. At first I didn’t have an option to maximize it, which had me worried. I closed it and re opened it, and was able to play in full screen mode that time, which was fun. It was just like using my Nexus 10 Android tablet.

The third app I tried was Android Device Manager. I thought it might be handy if my Chromebook was stolen to be able to track it down. But, the app says my device is not compatible with this version. Sad day.

A friend of mine and I play a board game called Descent. It’s a wildly fun game, but you can’t really play it with only 2 people. Well, the makers of the game developed an Android app that acts as a companion to the board game, and allows you to play 2 player. I used that app on the Flip last night, and it worked great.

As of right now, the option to allow Android apps appears to be optional.

You can choose to allow them or not in settings. You also have some typical Android settings to play with.

All in all it was exactly what I expected a developer channel experiment to be: kind of neat, a little buggy, very underwhelming.

As far as the Flip goes? I like it. I won’t spoil my thoughts too much, as I haven’t decided if I’m going to write a review or not, but I will say I have been pleasantly surprised these last couple days.

I won’t have this Flip for long, are there any apps you would like for me to try while I have it?

19 responses

  1. Is Skype on the Asus Flip Development Channel? I really would like to hear about that.
    Anne

    1. Yes, the Skype Android app can be installed and works fine.

  2. Please try Evernote and OneNote

    1. John, I tried both Evernote and OneNote.

      I’m an Evernote user, and found it to be enjoyable. It worked just as expected. I think I still prefer the Web version, but I imagine the Android app would have the advantage of working offline?

      I’ve never used OneNote before. It was pretty cool! I was able to type all over the place, wherever I clicked, which was neat. I was also able to insert a picture from the files app, and I was able to draw with my finger. Overall it was a pretty darned good experience, and you might have just turned me into a OneNote user!

      Thanks for reading Chromestory!

  3. Try Walking War Robots. That’s the “actual” best game on Android. 🙂

    1. Jeff, I played Walking War Robots, and it was fantastic! Really fun game, worked great. Thanks for the tip!

  4. Initially, there was no way to tell the difference between the icon for an Android app and the icon from a Chrome app. For example, the icon for the Gmail Chrome app and the icon for the Gmail Android app were identical. You couldn’t tell which one would launch when you tapped or clicked the icon.

    Then a day or two later, there was an update to Chrome on the Dev Channel that brought what I think is a major bug fix. Now all Chrome apps have a small gray monochrome Chrome logo affixed to the icon. Now it is easy to tell whether the icon will launch a Chrome app in the browser or an Android app. Nice touch.

    1. Scott, you might want to take a closer look at those icons. They do not distinguish between chrome and Android, they distinguish between web apps and native apps.

  5. I’m use Comixology quite regularly, and while they do have a web interface, it pails in comparison to the Android version of the app. Any chance you could try out Comixology and let me know if it runs as expected?

    1. Hi Jason! I have no idea what Comixology is, but when I get home from dinner, I will try it!

      1. Jason, I found an app called “Comics” by a developer named “comiXology”. I downloaded it, created a free account and downloaded a free book in HD. It worked great!

  6. Hey! Thanks for the great article.

    Would you mind seeing if the Inbox app works? I love it so much more than Gmail, and I just want to make sure it’s working before I buy a Chromebook.

    Thanks!

    1. Hey Google fan!

      Inbox is a terrible app, and you’re a bad person for using it.

      ;P

  7. Thanks for looking into Comixology for me James; that’s the app I was curious about. I really think it would be nice to have a larger screen for digital comic reading, but I’ve been holding out for convertible Chromebook to finally run Android apps. That’s great news.

    1. I must say I’ve been quite pleased by this Asus. It performs better than I expected, and I’ve actually gotten used to the small keyboard pretty quick (and I have big hands).

      1. I have been kind of wary of Asus android devices after they basically screwed up the memory in their flagship Android tablet, the Transformer Prime, and then only provided about 12 months of OS updates before abandoning it.

        Maybe they’ve improved since then.

        1. Well, keep in mind this isn’t an Android device. It’s a Chrome OS device, that happens to run Android apps now.

  8. Hey James,

    I know I am pretty late asking this, and based on your setup you may not be able to test it anyway, but… do you know if the Microsoft Remote Desktop app works? I am not a fan, but the IT department at work refused to authorise Google Remote Desktop on my work computer.

    No worries, if I am too late to ask about this. Keep up the good work!

    Thanks,
    Ryan

    1. Would I need a Windows computer to test that on? Cuz I ain’t got one.

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