Amazon.co.uk Widgets

Wind turbines on the mountain

Google, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Flutter 💙 development on a Chromebook

It is no understatement to say it is a revelation to have Android Studio, Chrome OS and Android all running simultaneously. The Android subsystem isn't an emulator it is the full Chrome OS Android implementation. It works beautifully.

Chrome OS is a good choice for a development environment provided you have a supported Chromebook. The Chromebook needs to be capable of supporting Linux and Google Play. I'd recommend seeking out an original Google Pixelbook i7, with 16GB Ram and a 512GB SSD. This is still the best development chromebook despite having been discontinued and superceded. You can pick them up for around £400. See my other article on this site about that. They are cheaper now they have been replaced by a newer model but still make almost perfect development machines.

Android Studio running and debugging our Android app on a Chromebook

In this screenshot you can see Android Studio having run the build of my app. The app is running on Android directly on the Chromebook.

Chromebook development compatibility

It is easy to check Chromebook suitability for development. It must be Chrome OS (64-bit). In Chromebook Settings scroll to the bottom. If you see 'Apps', and the settings for the Google Play store, and have Linux (Beta) turned on and its settings for tools, editors and IDEs available you are good to go, provided you have sufficient disk space. If you dont see the Android or Linux settings it is time to trade in that Chromebook for a newer model. You will not be able to use it for development.

ChromeOS settings showing Android and Linux options

Chrome OS settings showing the Android and Linux options.

On a supported Chromebook you can follow the instructions at Flutter > Get Started > Chrome OS install

Installing Flutter and Android Studio on a Chromebook

  1. Get the Flutter SDK by downloading the latest stable release, extracting it to your desired location.
  2. Add the location to your path by editing your .bashrc and adding the flutter folder to your path
    $ export PATH="$PATH:[PATH_TO_FLUTTER_FOLDER]/flutter/bin"
  3. Enable USB Debugging to the Chromebooks Android subsystem ChromeOS settings showing Linux ADB options
  4. Run Flutter Precache and then Flutter Doctor and resolve any dependeny issues.
  5. Install Android Studio by downloading it and following the instructions. Ignore the warning about having a connected device. You can use the built in Android system with Android Studio and enjoy the full Flutter experience on one Chromebook! It just works.

Resources

Original 2017 Pixelbook specification,  Flutter 2.x for Chrome OS is available from flutter.dev.