Tag Archive | "dual-os"

Chromebooks, ART and Android L is a model worth getting excited about.

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Android L, ART and Chromebooks. If you use Windows products, these Google products might make you sit up and take notice soon because Google have just announced important enhancements that connect the Chromebook and Android world.

android on chromebook

There was plenty of news from Google IO’s keynote yesterday and the big news was Android L, the codename for the next generation of Android. A developer preview is available now and when it launches for customers it will include changes that enhance the experience for users and, more importantly, increase investment in professional app development for this space. It could draw developer resources away from the Windows Store just as things were getting interesting there.

Android L details are still emerging but thanks to the keynote yesterday we now know that a new user interface layer called Material Design, new security features based on Samsung Knox and ART, the new Android runtime that replaces Dalvic will be included.

ART improves on Dalvic by pre-compiling code at install-time rather than during runtime which speeds-up the startup of apps and improves performance and battery life by reducing runtime CPU usage. There’s a useful intro to ART here which proves it’s being developed for i86 Android too. We assume those 2-in-1 runtime developers like Bluestacks and Console OS are also going to migrate to this model. More importantly it looks like Google are going to develop ART for Chromebooks meaning you’ll be able to run Android apps on a Chromebook.

Don’t expect Android apps to run on Chromebook immediately or without porting work; The wording of the announcement that Android apps are coming to Chromebook left a lot of questions . “This is a difficult challenge technically” says Google.

It’s likely that ART is being developed with ChromeOS in mind but that the hardware extraction layer needs to be refined on that platform before apps can be used. Security, user sessions and graphics capability is vastly different on a Chromebook. There’s a mouse and keyboard too which means may have to be ported or even submitted to another store before they can run on the Chromebook.

“Our goal is to bring your favorite Android applications in a thoughtful manner to Chromebooks.”

In a demo we saw Evernote running on a smartphone and then in a window on a Chromebook. “We have ported that Android application…” says Google indicating that yes, apps will need to be changed for Chromebooks. Vine was also demonstrated.

Like Windows Phone and Windows 8 there’s going to be a close connection and cross-pollination of apps between Android phone and Chromebook which means developers may put more resources into the bigger screen and embrace more expensive application projects. Now that Drive, Slides and Sheets support Microsoft Office docs natively there’s a more difficult choice for Windows users. Being able to run native apps with local data storage on the Chromebook also changes they way we should look at these devices and knowing that they offer some of the highest processing power per dollar in the market today means the Windows-based offerings will have to step up the game. The potential here is absolutely game-changing for Microsoft.

Related: Microsoft just released an Android handset under the Nokia brand with Microsoft service layers.

Let’s move on to screen mirroring. It was announced as a new capability for Chromecast and it also has a Trojan-horse element.

It’s useful to be able to use Miracast on a PC for wireless screen mirroring and audio transmission but the adaptors are expensive or no-name products. Android 4.4 already includes Miracast so it makes sense that the newly announced Chromecast screen mirroring feature is based on Miracast and it means Windows PC users (at least users with recent products) potentially get a $35 Miracast option – with Android inside.  There’s still a question mark over what Chromecast screen mirroring really is so we look forward to more details on this. If it’s true, Windows users may be buying Android without realizing it and that build could evolve into Android TV.

Let’s assume you’re using Windows on a PC, but you buy a Chromebook because, well, it’s a powerful and cheap way to use the Web and your 4-year old Windows laptop is just old, slow and very boring. Then you pick up a Chromecast which just happens to be the next model with Android TV inside. We’re speculating here but if that’s the case you’ve just got yourself into a situation where you’re getting into Android apps on the TV that can be run on the Chromebook. You’re fully into the Google ecosystem for just $235, without an Android phone.  What’s the next step? An Android phone and tablet?

Be excited about what’s happening here but be aware of the timescales that could go way into 2015 before we get a choice of integrated products. It could take even longer than that before Chromebooks get any major selection of Android / ART apps. When it happens though it will bring important enhancements across all Android-based products. The application ecosystem could get even more investment and the Chromebook could get native apps. If you’re prepared to commit to the Google way of life you’ve got an exciting choice coming up. That Windows / Android dual-OS option is looking more and more important.

MMV launches Console OS, a Dual OS Android project for your Windows PC

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consolebot-head-alphachannelBack at MWC we spoke to MMV CEO Christopher Price about dual-OS tablets, Ultrabooks and desktops. At that time they were public about iConsole.TV – an Android build designed to run games on high-power PC platforms. The idea of high-end gaming power is interesting but the more interesting topic for us was the promise that they were “building the first Android desktop PC.” [Watch the video here.] MMV have officially launched that project and it’s called Console OS. It’s going to be a true instant-switch dual-OS options for Windows PC owners.

Console OS is a part-completed dual-boot Android build that has the aim of being a complete desktop-capable fork of Android for X86 . The project has launched on Kickstarter where you can support and influence the project. If the project is successful we could see a true hypervisor-controlled instant-switch Android build in 2015.

The Kickstarter project is mainly geared towards building Console OS Pro – a version with hypervisor-based switching, service layers, maps and stores. This version will also, eventually, include OpenGL4.0 support and a Windowing system. Console OS will also be available to everyone soon as a basic dual-boot version.

Neither version will ship with the Android application store or Google service integration but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. It’s up to MMV, OEMS and Google to solve that issue and there’s obviously going to be money directed towards teasing OEMs into the project. Unofficial Google solutions are likely to appear but the hope is that Google would eventually come to their senses and support this commercially led project. The Amazon store is has already been tested and MMV will also build a Console Store that will include enhanced apps. MMV are also promising to allow you to import applications from your existing Android devices.

Other Cosnole OS Pro features:

  • Toggle between native and modified user-interface.
  • Ten-Second toggle between Windows and Android.
  • The Hypervisor looks like it will be based on Xen and include XenGT graphics virtualization technology.
  • 2 apps can be run side by side (on both versions)
  • ‘Industry licensed’
  • Secure-Boot supported
  • Gaming OpenGL 4 will be supported in 2015
  • ASUS Transformer Book T100 will be one of the first products to get a tailored build
  • Kickstarter supporters will be able to vote on which devices get priority in the tailoring process.

I’ve taken a close look at the project and spoke to MMV and I think it’s one of the best dual OS projects yet. Where Bluestacks, the AMD-funded project, runs inside a Windows-based runtime and others from Insyde and AMI haven’t really got off the ground this is not only a good technical solution but a well-organised project. Choosing to go through Kickstarter means it gets a good amount of free marketing too.

So why would you want Console OS? The free, dual-boot version may not interest too many people outside the early-adopter class but I think many will be interested in testing games on devices like the T100 and even some more powerful Ultrabooks. The Pro project is going to be the more interesting one for the mainstream though. There are going to be device-specific issues that will limit the audience at first but by choosing popular devices first – and the Transformer Book T100 is a perfect example – they should improve their reach quickly. Ultimately the OEMs need to pick up Console OS to make it truly successful and that success really does ride on being able to get a full Store and quality service layers into the product. Google is obviously the first choices but let’s not forget that Microsoft have a full Android stack in the Nokia X project.

MMV have published a list of competing Android X86 options and features.

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Here’s the list of devices that will get tailoring treatment from day 1 although it must be noted that there could be issues and changes. Sensors, 3G, multitouch, digitizers and other hardware will need open-source drivers before they are supported.

  • ASUS: Transformer Book T100
  • Dell: XPS 11, XPS 12, XPS 13, and XPS 15, Venue 8 Pro, Venue 11 Pro
  • Intel: Next Unit of Computing (all NUC models except for 847DYE)
  • Lenovo: Miix 2 8-inch, Miix 2 10-inch, IdeaPad U430p, ThinkPad X1 Carbon, Yoga 2, Yoga Pro 2
  • Sager: NP2740
  • Sony: VAIO Tap 11, VAIO Pro 11 & 13
  • System76: Galago UltraPro
  • Toshiba: Protege R30 & Z30, Tecra A50, Z50 & Z40
  • And, of course, all of our own iConsole-branded hardware like iConsole Unit 00 (and more, new hardware coming later this month)

Support for additional systems will be steered by OEM backing and by the community.

Console OS release timescales

Console OS Developer Release 1 within about 30 days of the Kickstarter’s conclusion (Est. September) After the initial launch the Kickstarter funds will be used to build out support for the devices that are  voted for.

MMV expects Console OS (Pro) 1.0 around December, 2014 with the goal of giving OEMs something to ship in time for new x86 tablets and convertibles this winter to ship in stores.

We’re in touch with MMV and looking forward to early testing. Expect more coverage from us soon.

ASUS Transformer Book V (5) notebook includes phone and dock.

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How do you solve the problem of Google not allowing Dual-OS on a laptop? You do what Asus has just done with the Asus Transformer Book V (five) 5-in-1 laptop/smartphone which was demonstrated at the Asus press conference in Taiwan today.

ASUS Transformer Book V_PR02

Looking a bit like the Asus Padfone products which allow you to dock a phone into a screen and keyboard module the Transformer Book V5 does a similar thing but allows you to dock an Android phone into the back of a WIndows Notebook thus allowing the user to either view the phone as a small window or to go full-screen for a full Android laptop experience.

The feature only works between the two specially developed devices and it looks like there’s not much in terms of sharing. For example it’s not clear if you can use the LTE on the phone from the Windows OS. Does the laptop charge the phone? Can you drag and drop files between the two devices or even share storage?

Transformer Book V

Video demo below.

The laptop comprises a ‘HD IPS’ 12.5-inch touchscreen and runs Windows on an unspecified ‘next generation’ Core processor. There’s a very simple set of ports available.

  • USB3.0
  • USB2.0
  • Up to 1TB drive

The phone has a 5-inch screen and runs Android 4.4 on an Intel Atom quad-core CPU, has ‘up to’ 128GB of storage (possibly with MicroSD?) and a 2500mah battery.

Watch out for a bit of smoke and a few mirrors here because while the demo looks great the integration between the two devices might not be as deep as you think. This simple integration could be exactly what some people are looking for, at the right price. Engadget have some more info on the specs and they look relatively high-end.

Update: MicroHDMI on tablet.

 

Press release:

Transformer Book V

Transformer Book V is the world’s first five-mode, three-in-one converged laptop that features a Windows and Android laptop and tablet as well as an Android smartphone, making it an incredibly flexible device able to excel in any usage scenario. Its revolutionary and elegant design comprises a laptop with a detachable 12.5-inch screen that becomes a separate tablet and a 5-inch smartphone that docks into the tablet.

As a laptop, Transformer Book V includes a full QWERTY keyboard and touchpad, and runs both Windows 8.1 and Android 4.4 KitKat. A dedicated hardware button provides instant and seamless switching between the two operating systems. The laptop features a next-generation Intel® Core™ processor providing high performance for an efficient and productive user experience. The 12.5-inch HD IPS display has sharp graphics and rich, vibrant color, and touch support adds additional convenience and functionality when using Windows 8.1. Transformer Book V comes with ample storage of up to 1TB for apps, documents, media and more.

As a tablet, Transformer Book V also works as a standalone Windows 8.1 tablet and an Android 4.4 KitKat tablet when the phone is docked. Switching between the two systems only takes a tap on the screen. Access to the Google Play Store and Windows Store provides a massive amount of apps and games to choose from, making Transformer Book V a highly-mobile entertainment and productivity powerhouse. Its built-in storage of up to 128GB offers plenty of room to store those apps along with movies, photos, music and more.

As a phone, Transformer Book V runs Android 4.4 KitKat, and is the world’s first 5-inch LTE smartphone powered by an Intel® AtomTM quad-core processor, giving it unparalleled performance when running apps, playing games or browsing the internet. Its Long-Term Evolution (LTE) support delivers a superior internet experience with network speeds that are up to four times faster than 3G. Transformer Book V comes with a 2500mah battery that provides up to 10 hours of web browsing time.

Transformer Book V combines the power of a laptop with the mobility of both a tablet and smartphone, and provides the flexibility to run a wide range of apps. Together with the easy ability to switch between modes and share data between devices, Transformer Book V delivers an unparalleled user experience.

Ramos i10 Pro launches with Dual OS and 3G. i10 Note and i8 Pro in development.

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i8 proAt an event in China today Ramos introduced three Windows 8.1 tablets. Two of these we’ve seen before but one is new. There’s also some information about the dual OS ability of the i10 Pro.

We’re expecting variants of these device specifications to appear over time but for today Ramos have pitched three devices are three different segments. The 8-inch i8 Pro runs the Z7340D CPU and comes with the basic Windows 8.1 tablet specifications. There’s a GPS on board but we’re expecting this to be a low-cost Windows 8 tablet. No availability or price has been given but when we spoke to Ramos last week they were indicating that it would come ‘next’ after the i10 Pro.

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The Ramo i10 Pro is shown with 3G specifications and is the model with the Dual OS feature. Android 4.2.2 is on board with Windows 8.1. The FullHD screen sits above the same basic Windows tablet specifications of Z3740D, 2GB RAM and 32GB SSD. Some talk of 64-bit Windows in some sources leads us to believe that the CPU might get upgraded to the Baytrail-CR variants when they’re fully available. The i10 Pro will be available in 5 colours.

The 3G function is enabled with the Ultrastick 3G SD card from Huawei which we understand is bundled with the i10 Pro. Clearly that might not be the case in other regions.

Indications are that this is a dual-boot solution as we saw demonstrated at CeBIT although final confirmation has been given. A dual-boot solution might not cut across the Google Play non-fragmentation agreement but we wait to see just how much more than basic Android this build is.

The i10 Pro will be available in China from the 25th of March for 2699 Yuan which is $433. Our hands-on video is below.

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The new model we haven’t seen before is the i10 Note which offers Windows 8.1 on a 1280×800 screen but with a pen. It’s not clear if this is a capacitive-only pen. Indications are that the product is still in development.

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We’ll update you as soon as we have new information. We’ve already contacted Ramos for a review device.

A live blog in Chinese from the launch event is available here.

Additional info via pbhz.com

Thx Mike Cane.

Ramos i10 Pro Dual OS Event Tomorrow. Leaked photo reveals Quadrant score

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Ramos event

The Ramos i10 Pro Windows 8 dual-operating system tablet will be given a press launch in China tomorrow which means we’ll have new information in under 24hrs. Why is this important? Ramos are launching a dual-OS 10-inch tablet on Baytrail and the product development has been supported by Intel. We could get the first glimpse of how Intel plans to architect its Windows / Android Dual OS solution. Have they found a way round the Google issue?

We had some hands-on with the Ramos i10 Pro when we met Ramos at CeBIT last week but more information is now leaking via the pphz.com website.

‘Spy photos’ show the first Quadrant scores: 32099, beating the Galaxy S4 and coming in behind the Galaxy Note 3. Not bad for a production sample. Clearly the Android 4.2 build is working well on Baytrail-T.

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We’re in contact with Ramos and trying to get more formal information for you. In the meantime, view our Ramos i10 Pro hands-on below.

Hat tip: Mike Cane.

Source: pphz.com

AMI DuOS. A closer look at a new DIY Dual-OS solution

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Over at UMPCPortal last week I wrote some detail about the possibility of dual-OS systems in 2014. As 2-in-1 devices evolve they are leaving Windows 8 behind because the consumer-focused Windows applications store isn’t developing as fast as it needs to. This leaves an opportunity for Android on i86 as the primary OS or as a dual-OS solution. Samsung and ASUS have both been blocked by Google from doing this but American Megatrends (AMI) have come up with Duos which is an Android-on-Windows solution that any user could download and install.

I’ll be testing DuOS as a Beta tester soon and at CeBIT this week I had a chance to get a demo, ask questions and produce a video for you.

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Broadwell Ultrabooks in Q4 2014. Expect these Features.

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Dell-XPS-13-2014We’re in a good place with Ultrabooks right now. Haswell gave us the battery life we were waiting for and prices have come down. Effectively the Ultrabook project is over but the brand, and the soul of the Ultrabook continues. A Dell XPS13 has been leaked for Q3 and it’s highly likely we’ll see a launch at Computex in June but don’t expect any large-scale products or refreshes until Q4. While some may say that’s a slip, it was much the same with the last generation.

With Broadwell we can expect another tick (or was it a tock?) in the Intel strategy of improving processor architecture and then improving the manufacturing process. This time round we’re moving to a 14nm process which, like the move from Sandy Bridge to Ivy Bridge, gave us power efficiencies. We also got a refreshed GPU in that round too so maybe we’ll see some ‘Iris’ action on Ultrabooks later this year.

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The Things I Learned at Mobile World Congress 2014.

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CMYK_White_VerWith a focus on mobile computing I attended my 6th Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week. I wasn’t just there to look at products though because my focus was on assessing trends and trying to work out how those trends might impact the pro-mobile computing market that we cover here.  Here’s a list of take-aways and notes from Barcelona.

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Dual-OS Update: Intel, Nokia, American Megatrends and Why Google Might Not be Needed.

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TD300_Detached_Dual-OS (2)There’s another BIOS producer getting into the Operating System Vendor space. Why? Because there’s a potential market for Windows 8 devices to offer Android as a live-switch alternative and the BIOS producers are well positioned to enable this. What are the options and issues, drivers and players and is Google at risk of being left out of this potentially big shift to high-power Android in the consumer space.


At MWC last week I spoke to a number of people about Dual-OS systems and there appears to be quite a positive note on it due to slow progress being made by Windows stores. It seems developers are unimpressed by the numbers available for the Microsoft Stores but excited about the prospect of Windows 8 Store unification. They won’t put any major effort into Windows apps in the meantime though and that could leave an 18-month gap. What do Windows laptop and tablets manufacturers do in the meantime? The idea is to go beyond the Smartbook (cheap Android-only) laptop concept and offer dual-OS on high-power platforms which could work not only to solve the application problem but could offer some very high power FullHD Android gaming experiences. The latter idea is one worth thinking about as gaming developers huddle around Android on tablets and smartphones that are already getting FullHD displays.  Think about the developments in 2-in-1 hardware (fanless Core-based systems should be common later this year) and it fits nicely as a potential solution for the laptop manufacturers. If it gains traction in the next 18 months then how about another stab at the Android-powered laptop? Consumers could be better served with a laptop-focused Android build now that the architecture has a) advanced greatly since the last attempt at smartbooks. b) hardware for always-on high-power and high-quality 2-in-1 solutions is now available. c) Consumers love Android d) Gaming on Android is BIG.

 

Background: 6 Dual-OS Architectures.

There are many ways to achieve a Dual-OS solution. Here are 6 potential solutions.

  • Classic dual-boot. Requires reboot to change systems generally not consumer-friendly.
  • S3 sleep+Memory juggling for 4-second (or less, according to my contacts) switch-over.  One engineer I spoke to told me they can do it without partitioning memory and in sub 4-seconds using SSD and some tricks.
  • Dalvik Runtime solution (running concurrently on top of Windows) e.g. Bluestacks, Myriad Alien (Myriad is the solution used in the Sailfish OS on the Jolla Linux smartphone.)
  • A ‘virtual box’ software hypervisor on an existing OS. E.g. Linux and Virtualbox with Android and Windows on top of that. Somewhat inefficient and, given the amount of lines of OS code required, probably not the most secure solution..
  • A fully virtualized dual-OS system running concurrently on a Hypervisor which has direct access to CPU features such as VT-x. (E.g. DuOS from AMI. See below.)
  • Dual-CPU system (a-la Transformer Book Trio.) Expensive but possibly the neatest solution. (Imagine a Core CPU with Atom or ARM CPU on one system.)

 

Intel, ASUS, Samsung Dual-OS solutions and the Google Problem

At CES we heard Intel announce their Dual-OS platform. They’re working on it but there’s next to no information available. My research indicates that they’re looking at a platform that switches from one to the other in sub 4-seconds but one that also puts the alternative OS into sleep. There might be a few partner issues on the horizon though.

ASUS have their ‘proprietary’ system too. I can confirm this is not the same project as Intel’s and my sources tell me that Google weren’t happy about it, just as they weren’t happy with the Samsung ATIV Q which appears to have been denied access to Google Play and taken back to the developers for a re-think.

Is Google Play critical though?

Think about this; If Google won’t allow their services to be used on top of Android Open Source then how about Nokia services, Microsoft Services or Amazon services? Take a look at the Nokia X project to see how many Nokia and Microsoft services have been integrated into Android open-source. Think about the success of the Amazon Kindle, the apps that have been ported over and the Amazon services that have been integrated into that product. 3 years ago we didn’t have these alternative service layers but now we do and Google doesn’t have the monopoly any more. If (and that’s a big ‘if’) Dual-OS leads to Android consumer laptops and gaming rigs it’s this high-powered i86 architecture that has the lead and if Google doesn’t want to cross this bridge, Nokia (and by definition through the take-over and Nokia-X project) Microsoft and Amazon have a good opportunity.

 

DuOS Available for Download Soon

Back to American Megatrends: There’s an interview video with President & CEO of AMI, Subramonian Shankar available below (via IT-Techblog.) In the video you’ll hear about the hypervisor architecture and a public download of the system. Through some digging I’ve found a site called AMIDUOS which looks like the place you’re going to find the software soon. It was tipped by an engineer working at American Megatrends so it looks likely! I also have a request in for early access.

The hypervisor solution is not without its issues. How do you turn off an alarm on the ‘other’ running OS? How do you control notifications, access to USB hardware, GPS and other hardware? Can you leave Android running and audio stream while switching to Windows to do some video and audio editing?

Dual-OS is a huge topic. it’s a bridge to Android-only laptop and gaming solutions. It’s a potential win for i86 and, in a bizarre twist, it’s a solution that Microsoft now has in its pocket. It’s not without issues though and if early solutions are messy it will die just as the smartbook did. Given the potentially huge gaming laptop/console feature though, the better platforms, a move to 2-in-1 hardware and the marketing budget that major OSVs have it could get the traction it requires. Are we seeing the first steps towards a shift in laptop OS for consumers and a potentially new path for the Wintel alliance?

CES2014 Ultrabook Round-Up. Ultrabook 2014 Thoughts.

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embedded-cam-dellThe big CES2014 Ultrabook news summary is that there isn’t really anything major to talk about, which needs talking about.

Given that there were no major Ultrabook announcements or evidence of Ultrabook marketing at CES2014 we now have to think about the future of the Ultrabook and leading-edge notebooks. Importantly, who’s going to carry the flag for new PC technologies? Or was CES2014 just a break in the project to allow Intel to promote themselves in newer emerging technologies? What’s next for the Ultrabook, Ultrabook 2014.

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Intel announces a Dual-OS platform

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Just minutes ago at the CES keynote, Intel announced, briefly, that they have a dual-OS platform ready. Windows and Android on one device.

dual-os intel
The live demo worked!

 

We know little right now apart from the fact that the Android part will include additional security. In an on-stage demo the switch time was near-instant. Have Intel developed a better solution than ASUS, Insyde? Does it have a true dual-virtual container? The exciting thing is that Intel have the best access to hardware drivers so getting all the hardware mapped through to both operating systems could be easier.

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Bluestacks Will Offer Full Android-on-Windows with AMD Products

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PrintDual-OS computing has been a hot topic recently but Bluestacks have been in the game for a few years with their ‘runtime’ that executes in the Windows app space. Bluestacks are now announcing that they will take that further forward to offer a complete Android OS wrapper for Windows. Like previous versions it’s going be best when it’s optimised and offered as part of the original product and there could be some gotchas but we should pay attention because, if it works, it will be better than quick-switch or dual-boot.

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