Author Archives: Android on PC

Android apps will run on Chrome OS, Windows Mac OS

Run Android Apps on Windows, MAC OS and LINUXIt seems that Google may unleash full Google play Store access on their Chrome line of products.

Google play Store will allow you to run more than a million Android apps on your Chromebook at first, expanding such functionality then into Windows, Mac OS and Linux based computers, available through their Chrome web navigator.

This comes not as a complete surprise: The working concept was already kind of there, already embedded and available on Chrome OS for a year or so, but -very- limited:

Some time ago Google started a project called “App Runtime for Chrome” (ARC). They closely worked with a few selected Android developers, allowing for a handful of selected apps to emerge on their Chrome Web Store, as some kind of “proof of concept”.

Some users at reddit are discussing this partially hidden, still “under construction” new feature, included in Google’s latest Chrome OS release for chromebooks.

When will Android apps run on Windows, MAC OS and Linux ?

Surely Google will unveil some details on GOOGLE I/O event this year. The only information emerging on the Internet at this time comes from some power users that got curious over this new development and started peeking and poking inside Chrome OS code.

They found some text strings and coding already in place that surely supports this new Google Play Store compatibility:

<message name="IDS_ARC_OPT_IN_DIALOG_DESCRIPTION" desc="Description of the opt-in dialog for Android apps.">
Choose from over a million apps and games on Google Play to install and use on your <ph name="DEVICE_TYPE">$1<ex>Chromebook</ex></ph>.

Maybe Google will also include Chrome extensions and Themes into their Google Play Store offerings, effectively replacing the -by now oldish and somewhat neglected- Chrome Web Store.

Remix Mini

The Remix Mini emerges as the result of a crowdfunding campaign, orchestrated by three ex-google employees.

Remix Mini Android on PCIt comes under the form of a tiny rounded Android on PC appliance, promising to fulfill all common tasks you may need to accomplish on your standard PC.

These facts by themselves are not that exciting… What makes the Remix Mini that much special is a price tag of 30 USD and the carefully tailored Android OS version running inside it.

Remix OS, inside Remix Mini

The Remix Mini comes with Remix OS, a modified Android OS which includes several enhancements allowing this mini PC to behave more closely as a “normal” computer.

For a start, it allows you to run several apps, inside different windows, like a normal desktop OS would do. Also remember that Microsoft extended their Microsoft Office tools into Android OS.

So for everyday office work, web navigation, remote desktop tasks, multimedia sessions -watch movies, listen to music- and even some mild gaming, the Remix Mini seems to be ok.

Remix Mini Hardware

Remix Mini PortsThe Remix Mini includes the usual network connectivity options, like WIFI, ethernet and Bluetooth. It also comes with standard Headphones, USB and HDMI ports.  THe HDMI output is 4K capable.

On RAM and storage, there are two versions available: One with 1gb RAM and 8gb of storage, and the second one doubling those metrics.

On the processing side, it includes a 64bit chipset which is 20% – 30% faster than 32bit older chipsets. The main processor is a 1.2Ghz quad core Allwinner A53. The graphics co-processor includes H.265 hardware decoding, ideal for that 4K HDMI output.

After writing this, I am actually looking forward to purchasing a Remix Mini for myself !

Andy, a modern Android Emulator

If you want to run Android on your PC, including your favorite Android games and apps on either your Mac or your Windows based PC, then you should try Andy, the Android emulator.

Andy Android EmulatorAccording to their website, Andy is robust, fully featured Android emulation software that will allow you to install and run your usual Android Apps on your PC, even the difficult ones, like Whatsapp.

Andy emulator includes full support for ARM processors (the vast majority of Android devices out there are fueled by ARM based processors), hence all your favorite apps will run perfectly well. Just in case, Andy is also compatible with apps compiled for INTEL x86 processors.

Andy Android Emulator features

Andy Android emulator includes several amazing features that you’ll love:

You can use your Android device as a wireless gamepad or joystick. Once coupled, It will send your input including the gyroscope and accelerator data which means that you will be able to play your favorite games on your computer at blazing speed, while controlling them with your native Android device movement and multitouch input.

There is a seamless integration between your Android device and your desktop computer, while you can enjoy the increased storage space on the latter. Furthermore, this integration extends even into your OS desktop: You can launch your favorite Android apps right from there.

Andy Android Emulator Requirements

You need at least a dual core processor, with an enabled hardware virtualization engine (called AMD-vt or Intel VT-x, depending on your processor brand).  You will also need at least 3Gb of ram and 20Gb of hard disk space. On the graphics side you’ll need to have an OpenGL ES  2.0 compliant graphic card.

Last -but not least- what Andy Android Emulator won’t require, is your money, as it is free.

Rockchip RK3188 and Rikomagic MK902

Interesting times ahead, for Android devices and the whole hardware scene, backing it up.  Specially for the China’s based Rockchip company and its actual flagship processor: The Rockchip RK3188, which -needless to say- can cope nicely with android on PC devices. At low cost.

Inside RK3188 CPU

The surprisingly powerful and versatile RK3188t is a quad core cpu chip, based on ARM  A9 Cortex core. It can be clocked up to 1.8 or 2.0 Ghz. Designed for driving up to 2 megabytes of RAM, includes a MaLi 400 graphics co-processor. This is more than enough foundry for any Android device. Until second quarter of 2014, The RK3188 will be Rockchip’s flagship, mainly targeted for tablet devices, but surely enough more than suitable for Android mini PCs.

Rikomagic MK902 Mini PC uses RK3188 CPU

The Rikomagic MK902 is certainly an ideal example of an RK3188 powered Android mini PC:

It includes an ethernet port, HDMI port, four standard USB ports, microSD cardslot, and even an analog A/V female port, which can be used with a provided A/V cable. It also includes a 5 megapixels camera, an embedded microphone, and -of course- a WIFI adapter (including an external antenna). Lastly, it also comes with a Bluetooth chip. Definitely, the Rikomagic MK902 comes packed with a plethora of connectivity, out of the box.

Rikomagic MK902 Rockchip RK3188

The Rikomagic MK902 makes full use of the Rockchip RK3188 processor, including 2gb of RAM.  On the storage side, it can be purchased in 8gb and 16 gb flavors. The whole hardware thing is backed up by Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. But then again, it may also be offered with Ubuntu preinstalled on it. Now you may be wondering about the price. This packed Android mini PC comes with a reasonable price tag ranging from USD 109 up to 143 USD, depending on the store you purchase it.

Lenovo A10 Android Notebook

First Lenovo Android Notebook is here!

Lenovo A10 Android NotebookLenovo A10 is an Android Notebook, a factor form that may be a bit awkward to introduce in the reign of Android devices. Why would anyone jump into an Android Notebook when there are plenty Android tablets with add-on keyboards that may do the trick with the added liberty of detaching the keyboard… Anyway, here it is, the first Lenovo branded Android Notebook, with serious specs -but nothing to be impressed about-. Lenovo is known for their quality notebooks and PC so we might expect at least a robust Android Notebook.

But then, given that this is a notebook, at least then you may be thinking: They surely attached the keyboard in a 360 degrees or even clamshell configuration, so I can get it on my desk as a traditional notebook, or eventually give the screen a spin and use it one handed, tablet like … but then a gain, nope. The screen / keyboard hinges go about 300 degrees at its max aperture. You may end up with your screen up like in the picture attached to this article, but that is it.

Lenovo A10 Android Notebook specs

A nice battery system  -there is lot of space below that keyboard for it- gives this notebook about 9 hours of usage (nothing that impressive, tho). Inside the Lenovo A10 we find a rather humble processor, an A9 ARM running at 1.6 Ghz. The Lenovo A10 includes 1 gigabyte of ram and 16 gb of integrated storage (again, nothing out of this world) and the LCD screen is just 10.1 inches. The Android notebook runs Android 4.2 Jelly bean (not that bad!). The whole system weights about one kilogram.

Intel’s quest about Android on PC

By now it is evident that the global market is finally accepting the concept of Android on PC desktop, as yet another hardware flavor for Google’s operative system.

Main brands, like Acer, Dell, Asus, etc. are steadily jumping into the Android on PC wagon with their All-in-One PC and overhauled big tablets running the internet-centric OS from Google.

Yes we know, right now, this is yet a rather lazy, ongoing development, but it certainly  looks promising under our eyes. There may be quite an upwards jump in  the near future, as you probably read about it: Rumor has it that tablets are going to outsell PCs in the near future -as early as within a year-.

This will probably close the gap between Android and your desktop computing experience, coming into therms on a middle-ground, full of AIO and big Tablets which will allow the common user to share the same apps, games and internet experience through the mobile and desktop scape.

But then again there is a very obvious “someone”  lagging behind, on the verge of this interestingly massive, dawning niche.

Intel is kind of running from behind

Intel seems to be a bit  slow on planting their feet on the mobile-ish Android on PC concept. Why ? Well, in our opinion, Intel might be suffering from a lack of enthusiasm, as the result of their feeble early experience, when the first smartphones where born (smartphones 1.0 Era, we shall call it).

We are talking about Microsoft  Windows CE and Windows Phone OS, Symbian OS, Palm OS, etc. Intel did take some baby steps at that time; We recall their PXA250 and PXA270 processors, mainly used for running Windows CE / Phone and even some Linux mobile phones and mini-tablets like the Sharp Zaurus PDA / tablets.

That early smart mobile world so ninety-ish, 2oth century era, is beyond dead now and certainly Intel was part of that process. Now it seems that extra caution is the rule on the smart mobile path, for such a big structured company. Maybe new Smartphone 2.0 Era opportunity is being distilled with a bureocratic rancor, even.

Android compiled for Intel, Intel designed for Android

INTEL ON ANDROIDSadly enough (for Intel) early attempts of introducing Intel to the “Android experience” where made “from the outside”, with projects like Android x68 porting to standard intel processors.

But then, in this last two years, the giant Intel seems to be finally awaken and in motion, first officially sanctioning an in-house porting of Android to their processors family and now suggesting their newest “system on a chip” products, mainly based on dual core Celeron’s and Pentium processors and HD graphics. While at it they are actually throwing in USB 3.0, SATA 3 and PCI Express 2.0 I/O capabilities.

So it is fair to expect a flow of Intel based all-in-one and smart monitors, Android wised, by 2014 and beyond. Problem at this time might be that Intel processors is quite different from ARM based processors, which are the core of almost every actual Android device nowadays. In case you are wondering, the apps and games need to be specifically compiled for Intel processors. This means, specially at early times, a severely diminished apps and games availability. Time will tell…