Android is a very popular operating system which is found on many phones, tablets and even the occasional camera. It’s a powerful operating system designed mainly for mobile devices, but it is actually very simple to install on a desktop or laptop computer.
Why Would you Want to?
Before we look at exactly how you can install the Android operating system onto a regular computer, we will first discuss the main reasons why you would want to do this. The most common reason why people would want to install Android on their computer is just because they can. Although there are also practical uses, if you write apps for android then you could use this as a test rig before testing on other machines. You could also build yourself a car entertainment computer using the android operating system.
Most handheld devices running android use ARM processors, these are very different to a desktop computer. Desktop computes such as AMD or Intel are all designed on either an X86 or X64 architecture. X86 versions of android are very common and easy to get hold of.
Getting Android X86
You will be able to find many different builds of Android for X86 processors. These will be capable of running on your computer easily without any hacks or hard work. Search for the latest build and download it to your computer, this should be in an iso file. You can either run Android from a USB drive, run it within a virtual machine, or physically install it to your hard drive. We will take a look at each of these in turn.
Running Android from a USB Drive
To run android from a USB drive you should use a tool such as the LinuxLiveUSB Tool. This will take the ISO file that you downloaded previously and prepare it for your USB drive. Connect the USB drive, select your ISO file and follow the instructions in the wizard. This will create a live bootable USB drive which you can use in your computer.
Once the wizard has finished connect the USB drive to your computer and restart it. Press the option to choose the boot device and select your USB drive. You might need to adjust the settings in your bios to boot from USB if this isn’t working. Then your computer will boot into Android without making any changes to your computer. Whenever you want to revert back to windows, simply disconnect the USB and restart your computer.
Another option is to use a virtual machine. This is a way of running another virtual computer within your real computer. Use virtual box to do this, Virtual Box is a separate piece of software which you will need to download. Then you can install the ISO by selecting it when setting up the android virtual machine. Follow all of the instructions when installing android and then run the virtual machine. This allows you to test out apps without having to shut down windows, when you are done simply close virtual box and you can use your computer as normal.
If you are interested in installing the Android Operating system in place of your normal operating system then you can burn the ISO to a DVD or CD, or write it onto a USB drive. Booting your computer and then following the instructions to install the software will take you through the process of installing the operating system to your hard drive.
Android is a very powerful operating system and I’m sure it will be used on more and more devices in the future. It might not be as versatile as windows or a stock Linux install, but there may be some of you who want to install it as your main operating system.