Android is an incredibly powerful and flexible platform, partly because it’s based on top of a Desktop OS. The “Linux Kernel” entry you find in the “About Phone” in your system settings is much more than just a legal requirement, it’s a reminder that Android itself is built on top of Linux, an Open Source platform that makes operating systems like Ubuntu possible. It’s this core that gives Android its stability, security and flexibility. Of course, Google have put far more into Android in order to create a flexible platform. The Google Play Store now offers millions of apps that can do perform all sorts of tasks all while keeping us entertained with games and movies. Android was built on top of a Desktop platform and now Andromium OS wants to bring that essence back out of Android.
Some of you might remember Andromium OS from a failed Kickstarter attempt some time ago, but work on the project continued and it’s now available from the Play Store in a limited, open beta for free download. Andromium basically turns your Android smartphone or tablet into a Desktop OS like Windows, or Mac OS X. It has a familiar Start menu sort of thing, the clock is where you’d expect it to be and you can manipulate windows using a mouse and keyboard as you would at your desk. The whole thing is very flexible, and allows you to browse the web, while having a window open for a word document and switch between the two.
Right now, this is in Beta, and it really shows. While the desktop is stable, it feels pretty limited right now, only certain apps are supported to run inside of Andromium, and the window manager needs some work. We struggled to get Chrome to resize for example, and other apps were more interested in escaping Andromium than staying on our desktop. As of right now, this is more of a proof of concept. It’s exciting for us to see this sort of thing on Android though, as we all know how useful the powerful chips underneath our glossy screens can be, and it’s about time we took better advantage of them.
If you want to test this out for yourself, it’s free to do so right now, but there’s no confirmation on how long that will last. You’ll also need a quad-core device with 2GB of RAM according to the developers, with the Snapdragon 800 being a fine recommendation from them. We tested it on a Nexus 9 and it worked well.