For beginning some information about creators: the Jide Company was founded by Google ex-employees. Now Jide has two successful Kickstarter companies:
- Remix Tablet + Laptop – $210,377 with the goal $100k
- Remix Mini – $69.99 Mini PC with Android-based OS: $1,647,155
Several days ago was released the first alpha-version of the Remix OS for PC. Download link is here.
- USB 3.0 8+ GB Flash (Remix OS may probably doesn’t boot from some USB 2.0-only hardware)
- Legacy boot without UEFI or hardware with hybrid UEFI/BIOS support
It’s Android with minimal modifications?
No, Android has a ton of mobile optimizations, and working with default Android on desktop is too hard. Here is the most general features of Remix OS:
- multitasking – run two and more applications with small windows like in most popular desktop OS
- taskbar with easy applications search and run
- separate panel for notifications
- keyboard support the standard desktop shortcuts
- right click on mouse call menu
- improved file manager with save, access, transfer files
- OTA updates with changelogs
After first look the Remix OS interface remembers modern Windows or Linux desktop : panel with icons in footer, left launcher; traditional clock, calendar and network connection at right bottom.
Interesting details – the strange settings panel with 80% empty space. Big place for notifications – good thing, but in my opinion a panel with dynamic size is better.
An applications launcher with standard Android design looks good; the principle “every application is personal small window” very effective in traditional desktop.
The settings interface really need more love, colors and contrast.
Standard android applications: Calculator, Contacts, Wallpapers Dialog
Widgets: only analog and digital clock with date is now available.
Android browser with wireless settings.
Chinese input settings.
Notifications settings for every application.
Remix OS also supports the experimental features:
- applications with arm native libraries
- “back” button in the taskbar
- sending message after press enter
- two finger pinch gestures simulation
- the mouse wheel can simulate a swipe gesture
For installation is recommended to use an 8 (and more) GB USB3 Flash device. Note: Remix OS currently do not boot from USB2, maybe it be fixed soon.
Windows users can write image with an official tool from Remix OS developers (available in downloaded
*nix users can write image with Disk Destroyer:
# dd if=Remix_OS_for_PC_64_B2016011201_Alpha.iso of=/dev/sdN bs=8M" // remember that the latest versions of dd support "progress" flag: # dd status=progress if=Remix_OS_for_PC_64_B2016011201_Alpha.iso of=/dev/sdN bs=8M"
After successful writing please reboot you machine, press ‘F10’ or ‘Del’ (depends from hardware) and select menu ‘Boot from USB device’. That’s all.
Android is the number one platform in the mobile world: billions devices, hundreds of thousand applications. Can it compete with most popular desktop operating system? Well, this is a hard question: more application is not (or bad) optimized for tablet mode. The idea is not new. In general, now it’s only begin of hard work. Another important thing: popularity is often irrational and slightly depend from quality of software. Time will tell.
P.S. EULA of Remix OS – very strange and scary Chinese hardcore:
You agree to bear all the risks and take full legal liability for the following activities while using the Site or Services:
* Opposing the basic principles determined in the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China;
* Endangering national security, leaking state secrets, subverting the government, and undermining national unity;
* Harming national honor and interests;
* Inciting ethnic hatred or ethnic discrimination, and undermining national unity;
* Undermining national religious policy, promoting cults and superstitions;
* Spreading rumor, disturbing social order, undermining…
* Copy and publish you content and personal information only to designated receiver;
* You agree that you irrevocably waive any and all ownership, legal and moral rights to your user content
Full text you can read here. Really, this text looks as the public rules of North Korea.