Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 18th Feb 2014 23:10 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems

So, convertibles. Laptop/tablet hybrids. I think their popularity started with early Asus Transformers, but since then, they've become a pretty big staple in the device landscape. Since I'm in the market for a replacement for my dreadful ARM Surface RT, I've been looking at this market segment again, and have noted that there's a lot of choice out there.

After the dreadful experience with the Surface RT, I'm steering clear of anything Windows RT-related. An x86-based convertible Windows 8.1 machine, however, still has some major appeal due to its excellent desktop application support that fits in nicely with my existing workstation. The tablet side of Windows 8.1, however, is still woefully underserved, with very few applications, and even those that do exist are of abysmal quality.

As far as hardware goes, the Lenovo Miix 2 10" (not to be confused with the older Miix 2!) has really grabbed by attention. It's supposed to end up at around EUR 400-500, which is acceptable. The Surface 2 Pro is also interesting, but quite expensive - although it does have a far better processor than the 10" Miix 2. There's also an 11" Miix 2 which sports the same processor as the Surface 2 Pro, but 11" seems a bit large in my view.

I've also been looking at Android convertibles, and here I run into a bit of trouble - most of them tend to run outdated versions of Android, and I'm really not looking forward to figuring out which of them have the best AOSP support. Do any of you have any suggestions here? Any models to look for? Experiences with custom, AOSP-like ROMs?

An even bigger question regarding Android on convertibles is just how well Android handles laptop-like computing. Does it do a good job of it, considering where Android comes from? It seems like to me that where Windows has the upper hand on the laptop side of the convertible, Android rules on the tablet side of it. Am I right in thinking this is so?

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x86 android
by curio on Wed 19th Feb 2014 02:19 UTC
curio
Member since:
2010-05-03

Your post prompted me to check in on the progress of AOSP for x86 that I had been exploring since a year or so but I haven't yet checked how stable it is currently. It is up to RC1 now though. This would be a powerful option if it would get it done for you. Any Windows version and a fairly up-to-date Android. http://www.android-x86.org/
Current release:
2014-02-14: The Android-x86 4.4-RC1 released (kitkat-x86)
http://www.android-x86.org/releases/releasenote-4-4-rc1

Tested platforms

The tests are done by the project members and others from android-porting group.

ASUS Eee PCs/Laptops
Viewsonic Viewpad 10
Dell Inspiron Mini Duo
Samsung Q1U
Viliv S5
Lenovo ThinkPad x61 Tablet
There may be more supported hardware but the "Supported list" is behind a google drive password requirement wich I will to not use.

Reply Score: 4

RE: x86 android
by henderson101 on Wed 19th Feb 2014 12:36 in reply to "x86 android"
henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

I had it on an MSi Wind u100 booting from an SD card.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: x86 android
by curio on Wed 19th Feb 2014 21:18 in reply to "x86 android"
curio Member since:
2010-05-03

Tried the Live CD/USB stick version overnight on an older Fujitsu Lifebook convertible tablet T-4220, with Intel core logic.
Core 2 Duo T7700@2.4ghz (64 bit)
Intel 965 express Chipset

Initially seems to work pretty well in Vesa mode. Resistive touchscreen is non functioning (config probably), but overall it runs fast and smooth even in live mode.

My biggest complaint and the probable deal-breaker for me and mine is that it appears very well tied into Google's services. I understand this is a plus to many, but for me and mine we don't want Google, with all their tracking and privacy implications, in our core OS. If I/we need Google anything we'll use the browser based options from a clean, Google free OS.
Don't know if there's a stripped down version of this project. As earlier stated I'm just now rechecking it as an option.

Thom's post isn't very clear with regard to preferring the ability to go Google-Free (pure AOSP) or not.
The answer to that question is required because the viable options change dramatically depending.

Reply Parent Score: 2