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Monday, July 14, 2014

Console OS may bring Android to desktops in a very usable way


We all like the idea of running Android on our computers and Bluestacks is a testament to that. But the experience of running Android on our PC hardware is never smooth and like Bluestacks, there are many projects that attempt to do so with limited or absent functionality.

Now a team of developers have brought a project called Console OS to kickstarter and they plan to allow Android to run on your computer hardware in an efficient fashion. The team started a Kickstarter project aiming to raise $50,000 to make Console OS a reality, and they have succeeded with almost a month left in the campaign.

Console OS is going to be a fork of Android built to work on Intel-based PCs, which makes it blazing fast. Keep in mind that while ARM chips on our mobile devices strive to get faster with each generation, they cannot compete with the raw power of the Intel Core processors on our desktops. This means Console OS has the potential to run standard Android games with higher-resolution graphics. Console OS is still a fork, but Mobile Media Ventures says it will be sticking close to the Android API stack to ensure compatibility.


So what about Google Play? Getting Console OS certified isn't possible as Mountain View's CTS is only for actual devices. Instead, the company is promising to ship with the ability to import Google Play purchases via a connector app on your phone or tablet. How this is going to work is still a bit murky. There will also be support for the Amazon Appstore and enhanced Android games through the official Console Store.

Console OS itself will be free, and Mobile Media Ventures plans to contribute code back to AOSP. The catch, however, is that Console OS has to be built for new devices individually (25 x86 laptops, tablets, and convertibles are already planned). If you have a supported device, you'll be able to dual-boot Console OS with Windows. The pro version of Console OS (planned for a $20 yearly subscription) will include a bunch of additional features like "InstaSwitch" for toggling between Windows and Android without a reboot and native DVR support.


Supporting Console OS on Kickstarter earns you a lifetime subscription to the pro version of Console OS, along with votes on which hardware gets support next. The higher tiers come with more licenses and extras like shirts (it wouldn't be a Kickstarter without shirts). The version 1.0 release is planned for December 2014. Do you think this project has the potential for sucess? We will have to wait to find out.


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