JIDE TECHNOLOGY has released an Alpha build of its much praised Remix OS version of Android, available free of charge.
The Android fork, which adds conventional desktop features such as a taskbar, start menu and support for multiple windows, has been a huge hit, overshadowing the implementation of Android revealed in Google's recent high-end tablet the Pixel C.
The initial build, as ever, is designed to fish for bugs and aid developers. A beta will follow in the coming weeks. The Alpha doesn't contain Google Mobile Services apps such as the Play store and Gmail, but the finished version will. In the meantime, users can sideload the gApps package or go to the Amazon Web Store.
There may also be problems with some video codecs, but we're told this is a licensing issue which will be resolved in the final version too. In the meantime, the first release is perfectly useable.
Compatibility with most Android apps is instant, but the user community can 'upvote' their favourites on the Remix OS site to flag what's working best in each category.
The company has already released a small desktop machine of its own, called the Remix Mini, the world's first fully functioning Android PC, priced at just $70 after a successful Kickstarter campaign. It has also developed a 2-in-1 ultrabook, the Remix Ultra, and has licensed Remix OS to several Far East tablet manufacturers.
In this new move, the company has teamed up with Android-x86, a group that has been working on an executable version of Android for computers since 2009, to launch a Remix OS installer which will allow existing hardware to become Remix OS powered, or as a partition on a dual-boot machine.
A third option is to store the OS on a USB stick, meaning that you can make any computer your own. This technique has already been popular through the Keepod programme which offers Android on a stick to countries without access to high-speed computers.
The advantages of Remix OS to the developing world are significant. Bench tests have shown that Remix OS works significantly faster than Windows, which will potentially breathe new life into older machines and make modern machines run at previously impossible speeds.
Remix OS was designed by three ex-Google engineers and includes access to the full Google Apps suite and the Google Play store.
David Ko, co-founder of Jide Technology, said: “Today’s public release of Remix OS, based on Android-x86, is something that we’ve been working towards since we founded Jide Technology in 2014.
"All of us are driven by the goal of making computing a more accessible experience, and this free, public release allows us to do this. We believe Remix OS is the natural evolution of Android and we’re proud to be at the forefront of this change.”
The public Alpha will be available to download from Jide and android-x86 from 12 January, and a beta update is expected swiftly afterwards. The INQUIRER has been using a Remix Mini for over a month now, and a full review of the operating system is coming soon. µ
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