The proliferation of Android devices is an amazing thing to see. It took a while for the OS to mature, Android suffered from random no-name manufacturers marketing shitty hardware with never to be updated software but selling for < $100 for “a brand new Smartphone!!” – if you bought one of those, you’d need a Smartphone. Cos you ain’t too smart yourself. While that market still exists, technology advancements mean that even the low-end hardware is usually an OK performer & the top-end product – premium Galaxy gear for example, is outstanding-spec hardware.
Powerful hardware & a non-restrictive OS platform give independent developers the ability to create powerful apps – there’s quite a few serious apps that exist for Android but not for Windows PC’s, particularly in the area of Network Security. (It’s easier to hack your Wifi on my S6 than on my MacBook Pro. Just ask Auckland Hospital – no, don’t, I didn’t tell them about that yet.)
The natural result of a maturing OS combined with powerful hardware is a near-uniform user-friendly experience. Once this is achieved, cross-platform adoption becomes trivial. I’ve taken Android TV boxes to techno-doofus’s to show them what they’re missing out on. These are people who would rather put their 12 month old laptop away than resolve the issues that are causing it run slow. Being ‘Droid users though, they immediately adapted to the MyGica interface, working it out instantly. Well, she did, not quite so much him. He took 2-3 days to be fair.I never put that Android TV back in my bag, they bought it on the spot. Within 2 months the cancelled Sky TV subscription paid for their new toy. And now they watch what they want to watch, when they want to watch it.
Anyway, enough preamble. Android, whilst owned by Google, is an open-source project. Developers are free to create their own versions of what is now the world’s most popular interactive OS and create their own business from it – a la Cyanogenmod & it’s income-producing sibling Cyanogen OS.
A group of enterprising developers over at Jide has done just this. Their version of Android, Remix OS, is built to run on Intel & AMD x86 & x64 computers. Yup, Droid on yer desktop.
This is no bunch of script kiddies at work, the Jide guys have got some financial backing, they already market 2 Jide devices running Remix OS: the reputationally-excellent 11.6″ i7-powered Ultratablet :alongside the ground-breaking first desktop computer built for Android – Jide Mini:
About the size of a wallet, Jide Mini wont dent your wallet either – it retails for just $US70!! Heck, you’d buy one just for shits & giggles.
Having put their investment in place, they’ve now released Remix OS to the public.
Remix OS is a beautifully designed & meticulously crafted piece of work, based on Android 5.1.1 – Lollipop. It’s lightweight, blazing fast, elegant & intuitive. From what I can see, I would purchase a Jide device in a heartbeat – they’re not available here yet though. So for the moment, we can run their OS on our own hardware.
The process is simplicity itself. Remix OS runs from a bootable USB drive, so you don’t need to mess with your current PC installation. Download the 800Mb zip file, unzip, click the installer, go make a cup of tea, finished, just like that.
Now reboot, holding whichever of the F keys holds your Boot Selection menu & choose the USB as your boot device. A minute of old-skool Linux-style command line activity later, there it is – a ‘Droid Desktop, a beautiful thing it is too.
Remix OS is currently being referred to as an Alpha development. That’s one in the early build stage, so Joe Public doesn’t want to play with this. Not until Remix at least hits Beta.
If, however, you have some IT knowledge, a patient demeanor & an adventurous spirit, then I personally recommend that you get into this – do a little time-travelling, see what the future of desktop OS looks like.