From time to time you’ll hear about yet another effort to bring Android to the desktop. Yes, there’s an official effort to do this straight from Google by bringing the Play Store to a select number of Chromebooks.
But what if you want this now, or don’t want to buy a new computer to experience what it’d be like to use Android apps on your PC? With a little bit of digital elbow grease, it’s possible. You can run some of your favorite apps and engage in Android gaming by trying out one of the many third-party solutions. I looked at several software choices that offer this, and came away with four solid options that will have you up and running with Android on your Windows PC rather painlessly.
The best: Remix OS
Remix OS is my top choice because it’s clearly the had considerable development work. It’s a full-blown desktop OS that’s based on Android. Everything you need to be productive or entertained is there, with the Google Play Store available and of course the ability to use Google Drive, Gmail, Chrome, or any non-Google apps for productivity.
The developers have built a slide-out notification menu and repurposed the software buttons without significantly changing the way that Android works. I played Clash of Clans, solitaire, and fooled around in Chrome while trying Remix OS out. It was quite stable and was the first time I felt that Android had actual capabilities to move beyond the smartphone or tablet.
Remix OS is a clever implementation of Android on the desktop.
It also may sound like a small matter, but being able to tap into apps like Snapchat that are currently mobile-only is an appealing part of the experience. It speaks to how blending the mobile and desktop worlds can mean less time shifting between devices (with more potential distractions, of course).
However, it’s the most complicated of these software packages to set up. You need to disable Secure Boot and then choose Remix from the boot menu in Windows—basically, you're dual-booting. If you know your way around a PC well enough you’ll be fine, but if this concept sounds foreign you’ll need to be willing to leap through several hoops to learn what to do.