I’ve been covering Remix OS since Jide first introduced the operating system in early 2015. It’s an operating system that takes Google’s Android and turns it into a desktop operating system with a taskbar, desktop, and multi-window support and it’s come a long way in the year or so since it first launched.
Originally available for only a single tablet, Jide has since released a desktop and offered its software for free to other device makers. Now a number of Chinese tablets and notebooks are available with Remix OS. And thanks to Remix OS for PC, anyone can download and run the operating system on their own hardware.
Today Jide released a new beta of Remix OS for PC that adds even more features. And this week I’ve also released the a new episode of the LPX Show podcast, featuring an interview with Jide co-founder David Ko.
While the people testing Remix OS today are largely geeks and early adopters, Ko says he sees a big future for this sort of software in emerging markets. That’s because many people’s first experience with the internet will be through an Android device… so why not let them run the same Android apps they’re familiar with on desktop and notebook computers?
Ko first explained this vision to me when we met at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, 2016. But I wanted to get more details, so I scheduled a phone interview for the LPX Show podcast.
I had actually planned for this to be the first episode of LPX, but Ko’s been pretty busy lately and there’s a 13 hour time difference between Philadelphia and Beijing, so it took a little while for the stars to align… and then I wanted to talk to a few other people for the show to provide a little more context.
Ultimately I think LPX Episode 3 gives a pretty good idea of where Remix OS is going… but there are also a few details from my interview with Ko that I didn’t manage to squeeze into the show, partly because they were a little too technical for a podcast I’m hoping appeals to a more general audience.
So here are a few things I learned that didn‘t make it into the show:
- Ko says he’s excited to see products like the iPad Pro and Pixel C, because it shows that companies like Apple and Google are starting to see their mobile operating systems as capable of powering a productivity experience.
- Some companies are already shipping tablets or notebooks with Remix OS. But it’s possible we could also see products like USB sticks or TV dongles with the software in the future.
- The operating system will always be free for users and for device makers. Right now Jide has enough funding that the company doesn’t have to worry about generating revenue from Remix OS. Eventually the company might reach out to partners to include their services in the operating system, but the OS itself will never includes ads and users will never have to pay to use it.
- Jide is working on adding better support for right-click actions so that you don’t need to long-press with a mouse the way you would with a touchscreen.
- Jide is committed to keeping Remix OS up to date by updating to the latest versions of Android. So an Android 6.0-based version is in development.
- While Remix OS isn’t just for Jide devices, the company will continue to put out new hardware, with 1-2 new devices per year. Products like the Remix Ultra Tablet and Remix Mini desktop are to Jide what the Nexus products are to Google: platforms to showcase the latest software.
- Despite some early missteps when releasing Remix OS for PC, which is based on the open source Android-x86 project, Ko says the company is very committed to open source software and understands open source licensing requirements. Jide will continue to release source code for all software that’s covered by an open source license and plans to contribute to projects like Android-x86 and not just build on the work of others.
- Ko doesn’t rule out the possibility that Jide could one day be acquired by Google or another company… but he says there aren’t currently any discussions taking place that would lead to that.
That’s some of the stuff that didn’t make it into the podcast. Want to hear what did? You can click the play button below to listen, or tap the download icon to save the episode as an MP3 file so you can listen later.
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