Run Android on Netbook or Desktop
Would you like to try out Google’s Android OS on your netbook or desktop? Here’s how you can run Android from a flash drive and see how fast Android can run on real hardware!
Install Android On Your Flash Drive or Memory Card
First, make sure you have a flash drive or memory card inserted into your computer with around 256MB or more storage space. Remove any files you may need off of the drive, so you can use it to run Android on your computer.
Now you’re ready to download and setup Android on your drive. Head over to the Android x86 download page (link below), scroll down to the StableRelease section, and click View under android-x86-1.6-r2.iso. This will start the iso file downloading to your computer.
Once your downloads are complete, run UNetbootin. Click the bullet beside Diskimage, then click the “… “ button and select the Android ISO file you just downloaded. Finally, select the correct flash drive or memory card in the menu on the bottom, and click Ok.
Once it’s finished, it will ask if you wish to reboot. If you want to go ahead and run Android, you can click Reboot; otherwise, just exit and run Android from your flash drive when you want.
If you want to try Android on a computer that has a CD/DVD drive, you could just burn the ISO to a disk and boot from it. Netbooks don’t have CD drives, and even on a desktop, it can be nice to not waste a CD just for this. If you want to burn it to a disk, you can do it easily from Windows 7 or with a free program such as ImgBurn.
Using Android-x86 On Your Computer
Now you’re ready to run Android on your netbook, laptop, or even a full desktop computer. Simply reboot your computer with the USB drive, and select to boot from it. Not all computers will automatically boot from a USB device, so you may have to press F2, F10, or another key, depending on your computer, and change the Boot options in the bios.
It works very good as a quick way to get online; the Android browser is actually quite capable for normal browsing, and worked very well in our tests. With a 10 second or less boot time, you may enjoy using this as an alternate to Puppy Linux or other light distros for a quick way to get online securely.
You can even install new applications with the included AndAppStore, though these will only be installed while this Android session is running. If you reboot your computer, you’ll only see the default applications and settings again.
Android x86 supports all of the hardware, including cameras and Wi-Fi, on several Netbooks and laptops; check the link below to see if yours is supported. In our test, our camera wasn’t supported, and we additionally had to connect to the internet via Ethernet since it didn’t detect our Wi-Fi card.
For the most part, Android was very responsive, but anything that would fade out the desktop such as opening a dialog box or a menu would run very slowly and even make the mouse feel jerky. Additionally, we couldn’t get it to boot on our desktop with an AMD processor. You could install Android to your hard drive, but we wouldn’t recommend it considering the limitations and issues it has. But, it is very fun to play with from a flash drive or memory card, and you may even feel adventurous enough to try installing it. Be warned, though; this isn’t for the weak of heart!