Android x86 / LiLi / VirtualBox

I started a debate yesterday at the Android Developers Day around Android or Google O/S for my Netbook. Now with a good selection on Android tablets coming out, I understand that would be a good option, but I already have the netbook.

With no way to "test" the new Google O/S, all I can do is test Android on x86 and make some assumptions.

Why:

My netbook needs an O/S that would be quick and lightweight.

I've tried Ubuntu Remix (http://www.ubuntu.com/netbook/get-ubuntu/download) and JoliCloud (http://www.jolicloud.com/) but have settled on Windows 7 Pro on my Acer Aspire One Netbook. Additionally installed Microsoft Security Essentials, Chrome Browser, 1Password and World of Warcraft. I do everything in Chrome, but for the occasional additional applications required, the Standard Suite from PortableApps.com adds what I need (http://portableapps.com/).

All of this works well, but sometimes feels to much. I just want to quickly reply to a message in Gmail, and my keyboard on my mobile is just to small. Or have something next to my primary machine that I can keep an eye on TweetDeck (http://www.tweetdeck.com/). And then of cause "it will look cool!!!".

What:

The Android on x86 Project is not official ( http://www.android-x86.org/ ) but Open Source.

To evaluate this on any platform is made very easy with LiLi (http://www.linuxliveusb.com/). This little application can take any Linux ISO image and create a bootable USB. This would include Android providing a stick that you can boot from.

LiLi also has a tick box in step 4 that "Enable launching LinuxLive in Windows". This downloads and adds a portable version of VirtualBox.org (http://www.virtualbox.org/) allowing you to launch the stick in Windows.

Not all the hardware works on the Acer (No WiFi and will not wake from sleep) but it works to have a look. It is similar to what you would see on the mobile with the addition of wired Ethernet.

Summary:

It seems that Android needs a Windows manager. Something that would let you open Android Apps in a window, instead of full screen. 

Unboxing the Toshiba AC100 Smartbook running Android ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uphXRBUtx_4 ) and first impressions (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p02HHmyiOBo) shows what Toshiba has tried to address this. They have added a Toshiba application to Android which tries to address this, but it seems this would be a much better if part of Android.

No touch is also weird while in Android, but more a human thing, than anything else.

Overall, Windows 7 it will be for now, but I will keep an eye on this development.
Android x86 / LiLi / VirtualBox Android x86 / LiLi / VirtualBox Reviewed by Johan Els at Who-Els.co.za on January 06, 2011 Rating: 5

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