At present, the only way you can sideload Android apps on your Chromebook is to switch your Chromebook to Developer mode (not Dev channel). A new code commit for Chrome OS suggests that you will soon be able to install manually sideload Android apps without Dev model, soon.
Developer mode is different from Dev channel. Developer mode disables certain security features of Chrome OS and enables developers to access deeper into Chrome OS and make changes. Developer Channel however, is an alpha version of Chrome OS where new features are tested.
Currently, you need to turn Developer mode on to sideload Android apps to your Chromebook. This might change soon. The commit that I found today talks about adding an enterprise policy so that administrators can decide if devices in their network can sideload apps or not.
The commit says:
Add ARC sideloading device policy.
Adds a simple boolean device policy to give enterprise administrator
control over allowing APK sideloading for Chrome OS / ARC users.
The bug associated with this code commit is public. It was actually submitted by a user, requesting sideloading feature. “Allow “Unknown Sources” in Android without requiring that the device is in Developer Mode”, the title says.
When this feature is live, Chrome OS administrators at schools and businesses will be able to enable or disable this feature for the entire fleet of Chromebooks, using a simple switch. Now, I am hoping that this feature will come to consumer Chromebooks as well, at some point. My guess is that I am looking at only the enterprise version of this feature, and I somehow missed the consumer version code change.
What do you think?