Installing Minecraft on Lenovo Chromebook Duet

ARM struggle with an Happy End

Last update: 30th November 2020

I am not a great player of Minecraft but I have a responsibility! A couple of months ago, I bought myself a little beautiful device, Lenovo Chromebook Duet. And then I made “a mistake”: I persuaded my colleague that this would be a great device for her little son ca 9 years old. Of course, I thought, he could play tons of games there! After all, according to her, he played mainly games in a web-browser and she wanted a device he could use for programming in Scratch and some light future school work. I thought and I still think that Chromebook Duet is an ideal device for that considering its price and included keyboard! Yet, then came Minecraft…

When I read her e-mail about his discovery of this game, I knew it would not be easy. Chromebook Duet supports Google Play Store and there is even an education version of Minecraft there but some time ago, Microsoft decided that a standard Minecraft Pocket Edition (PE) will simply not be available on Chromebooks. No idea why.

So I started to look for a solution in the waters of Reddit. And there are so many! I tried:

  • Sideloading Android Minecraft PE. I made an apk copy of my bought Minecraft PE and tried to sideload it into the Chromebook through Linux adb. After an hour, I got the loading screen and that was all.
  • I knew there was a Java edition of Minecraft and that should work on Linux within Chromebook, shouldn't it? Great! I have no issue with buying it if it works! Unfortunately, Minecraft Java edition works only on Intel and AMD processors, so no luck here.
  • I even tried Minecraft Classic, an online version of Minecraft! But yeah, I am afraid that the little son would not be happy with its limited functionality.

Solution

Finally, I found a complicated solution that works almost great! Here is what I did:

This is very straightforward. Simply head to the setting and allow Linux there!

Allow Linux

We will need to install a special little program called Minecraft Bedrock Launcher. In Linux, there are multiple ways how to download software. We will use the so-called Flatpak which allows us to install software with one command and prevents some common problems in Linux when installing software in other ways.

In order to install Flatpak and then Minecraft Bedrock Launcher, we will have to use the so-called Terminal. When I first used Linux many years ago, I was a little bit scared by that. But don’t be! We will use it just for a couple of small things.

  1. Open the Terminal by using
Don’t be afraid of the terminal

2. Now install Flatpak. It is actually pretty easy, simple to do that. If something is unclear in the following description, check its source.

Before we proceed, please note that at least on my Chromebook Duet, the copying to the terminal is weird. You cannot simply press ctrl+v as you would expect. Instead, choose the place where you want to insert the copied text and then click on the touchpad with two fingers. This should insert the text.

Copy this into the terminal (without the $ sign) and press enter:

$ sudo apt update

This will update our repositories. Then insert the following code and press enter:

$ sudo apt install flatpak

You will be asked if you want to copy the files, answer always with y , i.e. yes.

3. Then, we have to add a repository to Flatpak, from which we could download Minecraft Bedrock Launcher. A repository is a place that collects applications and there are many of them (we are using Linux, so we have a great freedom). In our case, we will choose Flathub. Insert the following code into the terminal and press enter:

$ flatpak --user remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

4. Now, restart your Chromebook!

5. Finally, we can install Minecraft Bedrock Launcher. Again, open the terminal and copy the following code. Then press the enter.

$ flatpak install flathub io.mrarm.mcpelauncher

If everything went as it should, you should now have a special new icon in your app launcher:

My nice little collection of Linux apps

After installing Minecraft Bedrock Launcher, start it. At this moment, it may seem that nothing happens for a moment or that the app even crashed. Be patient. Linux on Chromebooks just takes more time and behaves a little bit weird.

Finally, the app should start and you should be presented with an option to log in to your Google Play account. Do it and the launcher will check whether you have bought Minecraft PE, and it will download corresponding files later.

Now, be careful. When you see this, stop for a moment:

Can you find what is wrong on this image?

Do you remember that our device is ARM? We don’t want any X86_64 version (aka Intel and AMD) here, so if we see it in that green box on the bottom right, we have an issue and we have to change it. We can do this by clicking on a little “pen” icon on the bottom left and change the version from the drop-down menu.

Let’s selected the appropriate version

Then we can select an ARM version of Minecraft. When I was doing this for the first time, I could only successfully start one version of Minecraft: 1.14. ARM .

The only version that worked at beginning for me (well, “worked”)

And it was slow! Really, really slooooooow and the mouse did not work! I simply could not look around. Luckily, there are some solutions for that.

Both issues can be solved in the hidden settings of Chromebook. Are you using it right now? If yes, simply copy the following links into your address bar and make sure that the corresponding settings are on “enabled”.

Crostini gpu support — chrome://flags/#crostini-gpu-support

  • This will allow Linux to use our GPU which will give us a huge speed boost.

Enable pointer lock options — chrome://flags/#enable-pointer-lock-options

Pointer lock for Linux applications — chrome://flags/#exo-pointer-lock

  • These two will solve the issue with the mouse.

This is how your settings should look like:

This is how your settings should look like

If you have issues with enabling all of these settings at once, try to enable them one by one and restart the browser after each of them. Similarly, if the Minecraft Bedrock Launcher does not start after them, restart your tablet.

If everything is done well, the speed is now completely fine and the mouse is usable. At this moment it is completely fine to use even a higher version of Minecraft:

Now we can play Minecraft 1.16.0.2

I still have the following issues:

  • The mouse wheel only scrolls up and not down.
  • My Xbox controller does not work in Minecraft.
  • I cannot get the touch to work properly.

Especially the issue with the mouse is annoying but luckily, the scrollbars can be dragged and used without the mouse wheel.

If you know a solution for any of these problems, please, contact me and I will update this guide :).

Future?

I just hope that Microsoft will come to senses and allow either Minecraft PE to work on Chromebooks or create an official Java version for ARM Chromebooks. We may hope. Until then, I hope that this solution will work for you, for me and for the little kid :).

Just a humble Roaman duck.

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