Sunday, January 27, 2013

WindowsAndroid brings on its A-game

Android has become the most used OS of the smartphone world surpassing every other mobile operating system with a huge margin. But when it comes to PCs, Microsoft's Windows OS is still the king and it is going to be a long time before its thrown off its throne. As the usage of mobile devices is growing these days, people sometimes get irksome when they think of using a different operating system on their mobile device than the one on their PC. To solve the problem, a Beijing based startup company, SocketeQ, has come up with a software, WindowsAndroid.

While some people may find it similar to BlueStacks, a silicon valley based startup, which lets you run Android apps on Windows OS but this one is different and that too in a positive way. It not only lets you run made for Android apps on your dear Windows PC but also lets you use Android browser and all the other components of Android operating system as well.

It all begin in 2010, when the developers started working on Android 2.1 Eclair port "as something fun" and then Android 2.3 GingerBread to test the feasibility of the project. It was last year when they made efforts to try and port Android 4.0.3 on to Windows OS. They had to re-write multiple times on top of the old porting codebase to perform the port with three main goals in their mind: full support for an original Android version, efficiency and easy to sync with Google's codebase. And they did a great job in achieving their goals.

The best thing about WindowsAndroid is that its not an emulator or simulator based port but a Windows Kernel based one which lets it support all Windows compatible I/O devices such as keyboard, mouse, etc which not only removes the touchscreen usage restriction but also makes a Windows user feel at home while using it.

To have a go at the early release of WindowsAndroid, you have to fill out a form(with a valid e-mail address) on their website,, and download the meager 64.8 MB installer. Despite of what you might think, with a good bandwidth internet connection, the whole process of signing up, downloading and installing takes only 15 minutes. Upon being installed, WindowsAndroid takes up only 300 MB of your storage space and comes with a Android Robot icon. On execution, you are greeted with a command prompt interface which loads all of its components and then your Android on Windows device starts with the launch of the very familiar Android boot screen.

As you can see, it does not recognise Kernel version, when we go to the About section, as it uses Windows Kernel to run WindowsAndroid which is also a reason why Google Play doesn't recognise it as an Android device as it isn't able to identify the hardware as well as the Kernel. Although this poses to be problem when side-loading apps, but you can always copy the APK files to windowsandroid_root\data\app directory. After a reboot, you can easily load and run the apps.

Although everything seems to be working just fine and the way SocketeQ has promised, but the company's main aim is to fully port Android OS to Windows OS keeping all of Android's original things such as its UI and Dalvik Virtual Machine. They also want to make use of Windows OS based hardware performance by leveraging hardware acceleration and media codecs to get higher performance.

According to SocketeQ, the software "is still in early development status" and the developers are working on "integrating more features like full app running support, media playback and whole OpenGL ES simulation based on Desktop OpenGL".

Here you go with the current official features list:

While it is just an experiment and major bugs and crashes are expected, but it is certainly a one to keep close eyes on. Lets have a look at the product video which showcases the efficiency with which WindowsAndroid works.

[Update] = As many of you were having problem receiving the download link, i have uploaded it on another mirror and you can click here to download it.


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