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Android ICS runs natively on your Windows PC thanks to SocketeQ

by Mark Tyson on 28 January 2013, 11:15

Tags: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), PC

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Previously we have seen Android apps running on Windows systems via the Bluestacks App Player. That solution created an environment on your computer that allowed you to run Android apps through an emulation layer. Now there’s a new solution called WindowsAndroid which runs a port of Android natively on the Windows kernel (Windows Vista or newer) instead of Linux.

WindowsAndroid has been developed by a company called SocketeQ, a Bejing based start-up which has been “working on the project for years,” reports TNW. The WindowsAndroid program gives you a complete Android system on your desktop. To download the program head to the SocketeQ website (currently down probably to bandwidth issues, but there are download mirrors available) and grab the 64MB installer, when installed it will take up about 300MB of space on your drive.

The current version of WindowsAndroid is based upon Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich. If you don’t have a touch-enabled PC you can use the mouse and keyboard to get around the Android OS. Depending on the size of the Android windows on your desktop (or you can use it full-screen) the system automatically chooses Android’s tablet or smartphone UI.

Android Central made a video of their experiences poking around on WindowsAndroid.

The developers at SocketeQ told TNW that WindowsAndroid “is still in early development status”. There is no Google Play store as yet but apps can be side-loaded by placing APK files in the windowsandroid_root\data\app directory and then restarting the WindowsAndroid program. You should expect the occasional crash, for instance the Android Central guys experienced a crash every time they tried to access the Android camera functionality. Looking at the demonstration video above however, the whole application experience looks very impressive.

WindowsAndroid appears to be a very promising project which could achieve mass-appeal, especially to the wave of Windows 8 touchscreen ultrabook buyers predicted to come in summer.

HEXUS Forums :: 7 Comments

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This is cool, although I don't know how useful. Still, with things like this, Debian/kFreeBSD and ArchBSD, it shows how the OS and the kernel aren't as tightly coupled as they used to be.
I guess we shouldn't be that surprised by this. As I understand it, Android is sat on top of a JVM(Dalvik I think) which is running on the Linux kernel. Since you have that Java layer it probably makes it easier to move to another kernel.

Write once, run anywhere. Wasn't that the main selling point for Java when it first appeared?
This is pretty cool - and I would have thought that something that would interest Google.
Write once, run anywhere. Wasn't that the main selling point for Java when it first appeared?
Nah, Java = "write once, ruined everywhere" :D

Joking aside, the Java progs that I run on my C2D-powered Windows7 laptop don't half suck up the resources. :(
Now if I could emulate Android on my Linux PC I could see that opening up a lot of opportunities. Or will somebody tell me ‘you can already do that?!’
Well you can emulate an ARM device (whole phone) running Android, but it's not quite the same as what we're looking at here.