Android On Your Netbook

Looks like there’s a pretty easy way to install Ice Cream Sandwich, the newest version of Android, on your Netbook. Actually this is limited to a few types of hardware including netbooks like the eeePC. That’s because the ISO files used during installation have been tailored to the hardware used on those devices. As with other Linux distros, the ISO file can be loaded on a thumb drive using Unetbootin. From there you can give it a whirl as a Live CD (or USB as it were) or choose to install it on your hard drive. We haven’t given it a spin as the eeePC version doesn’t want to boot on our Dell Mini 9, but we don’t see a reason why this couldn’t be set up as a dual boot option.

Now why would you want to run Android on your netbook? We’ve already seen that there’s a way to run Android apps in Ubuntu. We bet some people just love Android, and others just hate the Unity desktop that Ubuntu now uses… especially when the Netbook Remix had a lot of good things going for it.

40 thoughts on “Android On Your Netbook

  1. I have an EeePC 1005-ish I will try this on when I get some spare time. It’s just hanging out collecting dust waiting for a good hack (and a new CMOS battery…), and this sounds like a good start.

  2. >Now why would you want to run Android on your

    maybe because you enjoy 100ms of input lag? or shitty Audio subsystem that doesnt let you play sounds with low-latency?

  3. all the talk and work is going on over at the android-x86 android google group.

    there you can find images for many different models of netbooks and laptops. there is one tailored for Xseries thinkpads that use the wacom stylus and everything works wonderfully. one real reason to want to run android is breathing some new life into these old systems (hdd-less x41 tablets can be had on ebay for around $30!) and put them back to work!

    1. On phone-like devices, holding it down for a bit pulls up a menu for reboot/shutdown etc. Can’t do that here, because that usually tells our BIOS to cut the power!

      This might work though:
      shutdown -k wait

      Run that from a shell on the device, or use adb to run it remotely from another machine.

      1. I was under the impression that the wait time was before things started unmounting. Do they manage that differently with android? on my Debian system the time is before starting any shutdown sequences, and then it’s ‘as long as it takes’ before it actually sends the TERM signal to the kernel.

      1. I still use the ICS x86 on my netbook, for turning it off, there is an app available free from Google Play called “shutdown”. It does the job fine. Wireless is also stable now. It just works.

  4. If you’re looking for a lightweight debian based distro I think Crunch band(#!) is the best. Don’t even bother with the ubuntu netbook remix.

    But im totally going to try this on my netbook, great post.

  5. I actually work on this stuff on a daily basis (we use the Android-x86 on test laptops to test out some of our kernel level radio code). I’ve worked with both the Honeycomb and ICS branch and have compiled the source to work on just about any x86 platform I can get my hands on (including an Alienware M14X) .. Unfortunately I had to fix some bugs in some source files in order to get certain things to work (like DHCP) .. BUT, once you get it to work, it’s a pretty cool way to check out and play with the Android OS. Wouldn’t recommend it as an actual desktop OS though as your functionality is severely limited, it does open the door to any home brew hardware makers looking to get a foot in somewhere ;) Either way, think I might join up on the bug fixing of the Android-x86 source …

    1. Same here. I had no problem with early releases of x86 android but the latest can’t seem to find some of the hardware earlier versions could. Don’t really know why (im not an android dev) but I had to do a little tinkering too. As with most non-windows OSes, it likes to shove your bluetooth adapter down your throat lol (Hey look your bluetooth adapter is STILL installed messages), but overall it runs pretty well P3 733mhz on up as far as I have seen. If you haven’t tried JoliOS, give it a shot sometime as well :) Glad to know I wasn’t the only one who had some issues like that.

    1. Try a mouse? All sarcasm aside, my EeePC 900 recognized my Logitech USB (wireless) laser mouse without even installing anything. Also started the wireless, the built in webcam and even connected to google without me doing anything but logging in with my gmail account. It was actually too easy. I was expecting to have some fun in doing some work, but I didn’t get to do anything but log in. Damn thing even downloaded all the apps I wanted (about 60 of them) and not one didn’t function properly. So, I deleted the linux and installed it permanently. I can always get the Linux back if I get bored.

  6. Arg, Unity desktop. It’s FANTASTIC, when it works. I had it installed for a week and loved it. Lots of little features that made it great on my 1024×600 netbook screen.

    Then it broke all by itself. Won’t show any apps. Something wrong with the internals.. I did a lot of poking around and found others with the same problem, and no explanation. A lot of fixes that did nothing.

    I really hope they get it figured out, because Unity desktop is fantastic, WHEN IT WORKS!

  7. It’s me again. I got it running on my EeePC 1005HAB. I’m posting from it now. Runs great so far, but live wallpapers are laggy. I already like it better, breaths new life into it.

  8. A mate of mine has a dual-boot netbook that came with Android 1.6 and Windows 7 on it. Like others, I didn’t see the reason for Android on a netbook, but when it turns on in a heartbeat and the Internet soon after, it makes it great for quick surfing.

    Might have to suggest this to him and see what he can get out of it..

  9. Android on an x86 PC doesn’t seem nearly as much of a hack as Ubuntu on an (ARM) Android device.

    Not to take anything away from this, I’m just saying that the latter provides more functionality and takes a greater degree of skill (until its packaged into an image and distributed).

    1. Well, if you like an android smart phone, that is what you will get. It will just have a bigger screen, keyboard and mouse.

      I like the simplisity of the whole thing. No problems, no issues and tons of free apps that do everything you can imagine, especially since you have all the Google apps available to you, including Docs, Drive, Latitude, Voice, Calendar, and since it has wifi, I can either use whatever businesses wifi to use it anywhere (like the grocery) or link it to my phone for internet where there is no wifi.

      In relationship to verixon, the android apps all use a very small amount of bandwidth while the laptop is linked to my Droid Max. I have a usage meter and used my EeePC Surf 4G for a whole month and the laptop never used more than 2.4GB the whole month. And I used it all the time. I also do not have any apps that are in there using bandwidth without me knowing about it. I can see where some of the apps are using bandwidth when they should not even be running. I ditch those apps.

      Tell us what you think after you use it for a while.

  10. I have ICS4 x86 eeepc on a Hannspree netbook (similar to eeepc) and it mostly works quite well. Installed to the 200Gb HDD. Camera runs but the picture is garbled, sound works fine, wireless works ok but i have trouble with the router needing re-boots after using it a while. Going to try different iso files and see what works best, but this is a tidy little use for the netbook. If I get it 100% stable and useful, I’ll buy a small SSD for fantastic battery life. It has a good 6 cell battery that goes 6 hours on XP.
    I even had an app on there allowing CPU scaling on demand.

  11. so I want this uninstalled because I forgot to create a virtual sdcard on here that stores stuff on my harddrive. I think I have a whole 200 mb storage on here the system is awesome and everything but really no space sucks. Any help is greatly appreciated I did this a while back and have just gritted my teeth but now its time to fix it, plus I like the dual boot better. Trying to get to recovery screen on boot but android boots before I can.
    I really dont like that I wish I could just start all over again and do this right and still have both and be able to access the hard drive storage space when using android.

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