Console OS

ConsoleOS Changes Source, Speaks Out To Naysayers

December 28, 2015 - Written By Daniel Fuller

You may have heard about an effort that popped up on Kickstarter about a year and a half ago called ConsoleOS, promising easy and seamless integration of Android onto x86-based PCs. This was to be accomplished by cooperating with Intel on their Android-IA project and integrating bits of code with Windows for easy switching, more so than the traditional dual booting that some systems support with Windows and Linux. In an earlier update, founder Christopher Price came forward to state that the project, as it was, was dead and would have to be rebuilt from the ground up. Naturally, backers were none too happy. Many had pledged fairly decent chunks of money, some even throwing in upwards of $1,000 USD for a laptop equipped with ConsoleOS. Physical goods like T-Shirts and laptop skins had also gone undelivered, leaving backers cold. The real kicker here is that the target delivery date was in December of 2014. As of this writing, a grand total of 5,695 eager souls had thrown in $78,497 USD. Apparently, this was not the first time Price had failed to deliver on a Kickstarter promise.

According to Price, the reason the project fell through is that Intel, who they were working closely with, halted development on their x86-tailored Android-IA project, leaving it only supported on a certain Internet of Things board, the Minnowboard MAX. This happened right as the Kickstarter campaign for ConsoleOS ended, leaving some backers thinking that Price knew this was coming. He denies it, saying that nobody at Intel told anybody on his side that support was ending. Price claims he sent multiple status updates during talks with Intel leading up to the shutdown. A close-to-finished initial version was subsequently delivered to most of the campaign’s target devices, based on Android 4.4 KitKat. Backers wanted Price to push for Android 5.0 Lollipop, but hangups left the project in an unsatisfactory state. Intel is still assisting with the project in the ways they can, however limited those may be. Around July, however, Price and his team realized it was time to move on from Android-IA.

At this point, Price notes, he and his team have burned through the Kickstarter funds and even some personal cash between trying to maintain Android-IA after Intel scaled it down. They set their sights on Android-x86, another open-source project, rather than shuttering the project or taking the immense investment of time and resources to build from the ground up. Allegedly, the creator of Android-x86, Chih-Wei Huang, asked for $50,000 USD for his cooperation, leading to a good amount of drama. Instead, the team forked Android-x86 themselves. They have committed to building on a per-device basis and working with Intel to keep driver support rolling. The team will make ConsoleOS free via GitHub, with any profits going back into the project. They have also reopened their forums, applied to the Open Handset Alliance, updated their wiki and committed to delivering weekly code updates. They have also announced an initiative to provide cash reward to developers willing to help.