Anybody familiar with Linux will know the name Wine, and will also know the name CodeWeavers, and their CrossOver program. Wine is a Windows emulation backend that allows Linux users to attempt to run Windows applications (sometimes successfully and sometimes not), while CrossOver is a frontend for Wine that makes things easier to manage and adds to Wine's capabilities with CrossOver's custom under the hood tweaks. Not too long ago, CodeWeavers announced that they would be bringing CrossOver to Android, and by extension, to Chromebooks, or at least the ones that can run Android apps. Taking to their blog today, they announced that the day everybody with a compatible Chromebook has waiting for is close at hand; as of August 25, the app will be live in the Play Store for testers who have signed up for the tech preview. Those who sign up after release will have to wait for the first beta, a timeline for which has yet to be announced.
As an initial caveat, it should be said that CodeWeavers are not miracle workers; the app will not work across architectures, meaning that your device must have an Intel x86-based processor of some sort, like a Celeron, Pentium or even Atom. They do say in their blog post that they are working on this limitation, but it's a big one, and is fairly far off in the future, if it can happen at all. The program is also far from perfect at the moment, and will run somewhat slowly and lack support for a number of applications. This is, after all, the first public technical preview.
When the app goes live in the Play Store for signed up testers, it will theoretically work on Intel-based Android phones and tablets as well, but since the Intel processors found in low-end Windows laptops and most Chromebooks are the target of the project for now, you may encounter serious hiccups. In order to install CrossOver, even if your Chromebook is officially compatible with the Play Store, you will need to be in developer mode. Luckily, CodeWeavers' blog post has a link to a tutorial that will take you through the whole process, from a factory, unadulterated Chromebook to one that can run Steam and a few low-end games. If you're feeling particularly brave, and perhaps know your way around both Linux and Windows command lines, head through the source link and sign up for the test.