In my previous article, I explained how you can install a port of an Android OS within a virtual environment or a virtual machine. You can also install an Android OS port on your computer using a USB Drive or DVD. This is very convenient, since you don’t have to actually install the OS on to your computer. But if you do want to install it (in dual boot mode along with your Windows OS) read my next article.
P.S. This article is a continuation of my series of previous articles. So make sure you go through them, if you want to know most of the things related to running android on PC and how to install any of the Android ports below in VirtualBox.
Android OS ports for PC
Now, the latest, official port of the Androidx86 Project (currently based on Nougat) just provides the basic functionalities of a computer system, like support for keyboard and mouse, internet connectivity through ethernet etc. But there are some specialized Android OS ports out there, which are based on the same project, but have a lot of additional features, which we take for granted on a basic computer system.
Here, I will review the most popular Android OS ports and conclude which among these is the most convenient for daily, normal operation for gamers and normal users alike. All of these operating systems can be downloaded in ISO or other image formats. To know how you can install these in a Virtual Machine, please read my previous article here.
1) Phoenix OS
Runs on: Android 7.1/Android 5 Status: Currently maintained and supported
Phoenix is a great Android OS, partly because of the features and similarities to Remix OS. It is also based on the Android x86 project and supports both 32 as well as 64-bit CPU architectures. The new Phoenix OS comes with an installer that makes it easier to install it directly to your hard drive. It is based on the almost latest Android update, Nougat 7.1.1.
Phoenix OS is available for Android devices as well as x86 PCs. It certainly has its fair share of faults, but it is functional and although in many ways it feels and acts like the Remix OS, it is markedly distinct from it and other similar Android based operating systems.
Phoenix OS is easy to operate. It has a basic desktop, multi-window support, taskbar and support for keyboard and mouse. The Phoenix logo in the bottom left acts like the Start button in Windows. Here, you can find your apps and shortcuts for all sorts of options and information. The first time the app menu is launched it will occupy the full screen. You can shrink it by tapping the arrow icon so it doesn’t dominate the screen when used again. The system even allows you to operate multiple apps at the same time. Though it is designed for use on large screens, it is still operational with smaller sized devices.
Phoenix OS is flexible, user friendly. You will likely be pleased with its performance.
2) Remix OS
Runs on : Marshmellow 6.0.1 Status : Discontinued
Remix OS is a free Android OS made by Jide, the company behind this operating system. It was the first Android OS that became popular due to its performance and usability. This OS comes with certain basic Android features adding some missing functions that are present for Mac and Windows users. You can find a windows interface, mouse and keyboard support, a system bar and file manager, etc. It also has other 3rd party installed apps. Remix OS provides a system for windowing that makes the operating system much more intuitive.
The software’s start menu features browser, contacts, calculator, downloads, file manager, settings and so on. Jide also offers an array of apps that were built specifically for the Remix OS,which can be found in the Jide Marketplace. The Google Play store functions as it should.
The software features a menu bar like the taskbar used in Windows. It runs across the entire width of the display. The bottom left features a Jide logo button that will trigger an app launcher via the start menu. The desktop features icons for all of your folders, applications, icons and so on. Pretty much everything you could expect from a desktop operating system is available with Remix OS. The program allows users to right click to access context menus along with those great keyboard shortcuts. You can even resize the windows to your personal preference.
OPENTHOS is a free, open source OS project based on Android-x86. It has a long list of features, just like other similar operating systems based on Android-x86 except OPENTHOS is Open Source. The source code is available on GitHub, and the official homepage can be found here. Currently, the official site seems to be written in the Chinese Language, but according to the project team, you can choose the English Language when attempting to install the OS.
It supports Android apps and Linux apps in multi-windows. For this to run your computer’s CPU should be of the 64-bit architecture. When tested in the UEFI boot mode, it failed to boot so I had boot it in the legacy mode.
– free, open source OS based on Android-x86
– enhanced security based on Chinese standards and algorithms
– real multi-window manager, task manager, file explorer and more
– improved PC performance
– 60FPS drawing frame rate, low latency
– highly optimized applications
– full disk encryption and biometrics included
– fine-grained permission control and application isolation: privilege masquerading
– lightweight native GUI
– UEFI Boot Manager with support for Windows, Linux and OS X
– Synchronize with other PC (Windows Linux Mac) to access on mobile devices and browsers
– End-to-end encryption, protection of data privacy * (User data service is not available)
– works with other devices: wear, phones and other smart devices based on Android
4) Bliss OS
Bliss OS is close to a pure Android x86 port but with few modifications like the taskbar. It is more stable and has a smoother experience compared to the original. It supports running apps in Windowed mode, so multiple apps can be run at the same time.
Their focus is to bring the Open Source community a quality OS that can run as a daily driver, syncing your apps, settings and customizations across all platforms you run Bliss on. Bliss OS comes with a wide selection of customization options, functions, and is even themable out of the box using the rootless Substratum Theme Engine.
When tested in the UEFI boot mode, it failed to boot so I had boot it in the legacy mode.
Android-x86 (formely known as “patch hosting for android x86 support”) is a free, open source project that allows you to run Android OS on x86 processor based computers. It is a port of the well-known “Android Open Source Project”.
The Androidx86 project allows the mobile Google Android operating system to function on devices that are powered by AMD x86 / Intel processors. It has a very significant role, since it is the base for Remix OS and Phoenix OS. If you want a light-weight android OS and without too many customization options, you can go forward with this. You’ll get the same key features and interface as we can see on a real android smartphone.
Though the software has its merits, some users will be frustrated with the software’s flaws and unreliability.
Phoenix OS is the best option among the above, due to the variety of features it provides, the overall system stability and also due to the fact, that it is in continuous development, besides being an almost complete operating system for computers.