Jide’s Remix OS is a custom version of Android designed to make the operating system feel more like Windows by giving you a task bar and support for viewing multiple apps on a tablet screen at the same time by running apps in phone-sized windows.
The version included on the Remix Ultra Tablet I tested recently is based on Android 4.4. But this summer Jide plans to release Remix OS 1.5. It’s based on Android 5.0 Lollipop, but that’s not the only thing that’s new.
Here are some of the new features in Remix OS 5.0:
- Pin apps on top so they aren’t accidentally minimized.
- Preview image, video, or document files before opening them.
- Take a screenshot of just a portion of the display — to capture app windows instead of your entire screen.
- The status bar now supports battery status, VPN status, and more.
- Labels pop up when you perform taskbar actions, to make sure you know what action is being taken.
- Switch apps from phone to full screen mode (or vice versa) using a right-click on the app icon in the taskbar.
- There’s a new Remix Notes app.
- A new Tips app shows you how to use Remix OS features.
Jide is already testing a Chinese-language version of Remix OS 1.5, but it should be available for international users this summer.
Now that it looks like Google is working on bringing native multi-window support to Android, custom versions of the operating system like Remix OS which offer their own multi-window features might not seem as necessary. But Google hasn’t officially announced support for multi-window support yet, so it may be a while before the feature is fully implemented.
More importantly, while multi-window support is one of the key features of Remix OS, it’s not the only thing that sets it apart from stock Android software. The taskbar, custom apps, and custom user interface go a long way to change the look and feel of Android while maintaining compatibility with the Google Play Store and Android apps such as Gmail, YouTube, Chrome, and Maps.