You’re probably not familiar with the Chinese startup named Jide, but if you’re anything of an Android fan, you better take note. The company is close to doing what many have tried but few have succeeded: giving Android a more desktop-friendly experiencece. FIrst there was the Jide Ultra tablet “Surface clone”. Then came the Remix Mini mini PC. Starting 12th January, Jide will be embracing everyone and their hardware by releasing Remix OS 2.0 for PCs and Macs, or any Intel or AMD device basically. And for free!
What is Remix OS 2.0 anyway? Disregarding the version number, this is, as its name says, a remix. Of Android, that is. It has taken the Android platform and transformed it, even shoehorned if you may, into a user experience not that different from a desktop. Floating, resizable windows? Check. Bottom panel with “start menu” and notification tray? Check. Real multi-tasking? Check. It’s far from perfect, at least not yet, but so far it is the only one that gets this close to that dream.
Remix OS was initially designed for Jide’s two devices, both of which are powered by ARM chips. But an “Android PC” experience is probably best experienced on a PC as well. Or in some cases, a Mac too. With the upcoming Remix OS 2.0 release, anyone can download the image and install it on any device running on an Intel or AMD processor. Or, they can even install it on a USB and take it with them anywhere like a portable OS on a stick. Simply plug it into a computer or laptop and boot into the USB to get your Android PC running.
Interestingly, for this particular campaign, Jide isn’t doing it alone. It has partnered with Android-x86, the community project whose goal is make Android run on any x86, meaning Intel architecture (which includes AMD), machine. Android-x86 has been doing this for years now but, when it comes to the interface, it has stuck with the default Android UI, which is great for x86 phones and tablets, but not so much for laptops and desktops. Now Jide is remixing that into a better shape as well.
It is also a bit curious that Android-x86 would take this path. Just last month, it was involved in a bit of Internet controversy over Console OS, another crowdfunded project that also sought to bring Android to the desktop. Android-x86 basically accused Console OS of simply “stealing” its code and work, presenting it as its own, and then trying to make a buck out of it. The back and forth mudslinging has, so far, remained unresolved.
Controversy aside, Jide’s Remix OS does exist, works, is already in the hands of owners of Jide’s devices, and, in less than a week, also be in the hands of anyone who has a PC, Mac, or USB stick.