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Description

Android-x86 (formely known as "patch hosting for android x86 support") is a free, open source project that allows you to run Android on x86 operating systems. It is a port of the well-known "Android Open Source Project" led and offered for free by Google.

Android-x86 Review

The new Android-x86 software helps people use the Android operating system on a laptop or desktop computer. Though the software has its merits, it is also somewhat flawed. Let's dig into the details of Android-x86.

Who It is For

The Android-x86 software allows the mobile Google Android operating system to function on devices that are powered by AMD x86 / Intel processors rather than RISC-based ARM chips. However, it is important to point out that this software is not officially sponsored by Google. Those who would like a single Linux-based operating system to run on all of their devices will find that Android-x86 is a solid alternative.

The Installation Process

Android-x86 contains two files. The first is the ISO file that can be booted on any device with legacy BIOS. The second is an EFI image that one can be used on contemporary computing devices that have UEFI firmware. Select the one that is appropriate for your hardware. You will be taken to a screen where you can run the software in a live session without actually installing it or choose a direct installation. You can even install Android-x86 onto a USB drive so you have a bootable USB stick at your disposal. Opting for this installation route is quite convenient as it will allow your USB drive to save some of its memory capability. All in all, the Android-x86 installation process is quite easy. The one minor fault with the installation process is that the installer is not capable of formatting ext3 file systems.

Ease of Use

Run Android-x86 on all of your computers and you will likely be fairly impressed with its performance. The software requires that you create / sign into your Google account when first using it on a PC. However, a plan vanilla Android will load if you fail to sign in through a Google account. This allows you to access the world wide web through the standard Android web browser. You will also have to configure your WiFi. When the program is up and running, you will use a ring-shaped mouse-like pointer as the indicator for clicks. Certain navigation functions require that the user holds down a key on the keyboard or click to transition from one desktop to another. Go ahead and access the Google Play store as well as your Google Chrome / mobile Android settings to populate your PC's new operating system.

The software features two home screens and six different wallpapers. Both home screens have a Google search box and a voice input icon toward the center of the screen. The bottom of the screen has a see-through dock row with the typical “home”, “return” and “recent apps” buttons. Above this row are five conveniently placed icons for YouTube, SMS messaging, Google Music Play, the web browser launcher and an apps drawer launch button.

Benefits

The benefit to running Android on each device is that it allows you to keep all of your apps, settings and Google services aligned. Thankfully Android-x86 makes this happen without too many major obstacles. The new version of Android-x86 is fairly intuitive and easy to learn. It runs much faster than previous versions of Android on dedicated hardware. Use it on a variety of computing devices from netbooks to tablets and beyond and you'll likely be content with its performance Hardware acceleration is now available for Vmware ad Nvidia chips. A new Hal sensor even supports GPS.

Drawbacks

The software's download page isn't the easiest to use as it shows earlier versions of the software. Many users have complained that they had to resort to the "release notes web page" to access the download. Some users have reported that there are issues with the software's suspend and resume features. Others have complained about the software being limited to strictly the Android web browser.

In some instances when a live session is occurring, the web browser will fail to start and an error window will pop up. Yet some users have stated that after they rebooted the same hardware, this browser problem goes away. Many users have complained that the app has failed to launch or completely failed to even open at all. Some report that the apps open but crash shortly afterward. If this occurs, go ahead and reboot your computer. It just might provide a temporary fix until Android-x86 developers come up with a permanent solution to this widely reported problem.

The Verdict

Android-x86 should be lauded for its ability to seamlessly run the Android operating system on a laptop or desktop powered by AMD x86 / Intel processors. However, some users will be frustrated with the software's flaws and unreliability. If you aren't in any hurry to use your Android system on your traditional computers, it might be prudent to wait until the next version of Android-x86 is released.

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