Jide’s Remix OS, the open-source version of Android that’s been reconfigured into a desktop-style operating system (and which I’ve written about at the Dark Android Project before), seems to be on a real roll, as late. While it has generally released rather underwhelming hardware to accompany Remix OS, Jide has also done right by releasing Remix OS for PC’s, much to my enjoyment.
Now with the release of Remix OS 3.0 (based on Android Marshmallow), they are also releasing some new hardware, including an Android-based laptop through a strategic partnership with Acer, and more full-on desktops through AOC.
SIDE NOTE: Chih-Wei Huang, one of the founders of the Android x86 project, has joined the Jide company to head up their x86 technology efforts. How ’bout that.
But the star of the show is the most powerful of hardware bunch: The Remix Pro, the second-gen version of the Remix OS tablet. This time around it’s using some fairly respectable hardware, including a 12-inch 2160×1440 screen, a Snapdragon 652 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage space, and a MicroSD card slot. The tablet’s cameras aren’t anything to write home about at 8MP and 5MP on the rear and front, respectively, and the 9000mAh battery won’t turn any heads, though the design is fairly slim at just 6.9mm. Like the original, the Remix Pro has a Surface-style combined cover and keyboard, presumably sold separately.
There’s a new version of the Remix desktop PC, which was a very unimpressive effort, but also its specifications aren’t exactly staggering. The box will be equipped with a Rockchip 2268 CPU, either 1GB or 2GB of RAM, and just 8 or 16GB of storage space, plus whatever you can fit in the MicroSD card slot. The new version will include Wi-fi, Bluetooth, Ethernet, and HDMI support for displays of up to 4K resolution at 60 frames per second. Jide says that the updated Remix box is intended specifically for OEMs, so it might be seen under several different brand names when it comes to market. There is the chance that unlike every other device that Jide has announced that this one will have the Google Play Store pre-installed, which the previous Remix desktop was the only device that was allowed for by Alphabet/Google, as well.
What about that partnership with Acer, though? Well, a Remix-powered laptop, the ES1-131 is also on the way. It’s an Intel-based 11.6-inch laptop using the Celeron architecture, so it’s no powerhouse, but it could be an interesting alternative to a Chromebook or low-powered Windows machine. The laptop uses a 1.6GHz x64 quad-core processor, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB conventional hard drive, and a 1366×768 screen panel.
Add to that another partnership with infamous monitor manufacturer, AOC, they announced more AOC models in its Remix-powered Mars line of all-in-one PCs (with all the components housed in a beefy monitor). In addition to the 24-inch version of the Mars all-in-one that was announced last month, a 22-inch version and a massive 32-inch version will also be made available. All three of them use an Amlogic s905 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB or 64GB of storage, and 1080p displays at all sizes.
All of the above products are missing precise release dates and prices, and unfortunately, they’re all limited to the Chinese market for now. Because of this (and other reasons), this likely means they won’t come with access to Google apps or the Google Play Store. Interestingly, it does appear that Mozilla and Microsoft will be filling in the software gap with the Firefox browser, and Microsoft’s complete suite of apps that can do practically anything that Google’s pre-installed apps can do (Google Play Services can be side-loaded, however). Jide would very much like to sell them internationally, and still may, but right now that’s not happening.
I love the idea of desktop-centered Android devices, and it’s the reason I’ve long been excited about Remix OS. Android gaming aside (which is part of the reason Remix OS is so popular), the ease of accessibility to great privacy and security apps (like ones from The Guardian Project and the Tor Project) makes all of this very appealing to get everyone–even the not so tech-savvy–onboard with the growing crypto-economy that I’m only happy to support. Admittedly, however, things like Remix OS may become moot when put in the light of Google’s announcement that the Google Play Store and its massive library of Android apps are going to be available on Chromebooks in the near future.
But none of that really takes anything away from the great strides that Jide and Remix OS are making. And if–as I’ve theorized, and others have reported–that Google is planning on merging Android and Chrome OS into a new “Google OS”, having these alternative open-source platforms becomes all the more important.