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Chromebooks now support Android keyboard controls


Chromebooks can run Android apps from Google Play, although most are built for phones. Google is trying to make keyboard-playing games easier.

Many Android games and apps that support keyboards, mouse, resizable windows, and other desktop characteristics aren’t tested on Chromebooks. This means using a mouse or touchpad instead of a touchscreen, which is clumsy at best and impossible at worst (especially for fast-paced games).

Google has enabled “an early Alpha of the game controls capability for select touchscreen-only Android games.” The feature simulates keyboard input, such as WASD keys in directional games, as a tap or swipe. More games are playable on Chromebooks, even if creators don’t enable keyboard and mouse input.

ChromeOS 105’s first controls include tap and touch-and-drag. You can adjust key bindings via the game controls menu, a white square menu on the game’s right side. These controls are available in select joystick, single-button, multi-button, and swiping games. You can also disable these controls.

Google claims it added keyboard functionality since most ChromeOS users use a mouse and keyboard to interact with apps. It also revealed that many Google Play Store apps are exclusively designed for touch interactions, which is a difficulty for games because it requires quick motions or button taps.

Google plans to add an editor to add game controls to any Google Play Store game that runs on Chromebooks. Google plans mouse, controller, and touch support. You can send Google feedback via the hover menu to help improve the feature.

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