Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! While we support dual-booting with Windows, you can install Console OS on a completely blank hard drive and use it as your primary operating system.Last updated:
We have a few videos already - some from earlier this year in the ramp up to unveiling Console OS:
Console OS Launch Video
Console OS Delivering Android™ to Surface™ Pro 3
GDC Preview Video - YouTube
MWC Interview with UltrabookNews.com - YouTube
That's our new goal! Surface Pro (including the all-new Surface Pro 3) is our first stretch goal.
Watch our announcement video, here: http://consoleos.com/omg-surface-pro-3-and-surface-pro-2-and-surface-pro
The challenge with Surface Pro is that it has several chipsets that no other PC uses today. Supporting them is going to require custom driver development work.
If we raise $125,000, we believe we'll have the resources needed to move the entire Surface Pro into the supported device column.
You won't need a second license for Surface Pro (3). Anyone that backs us $10 or more will get in on the Surface Pro love with Console OS.Last updated:
Hello (again) Mac users. See our last question on Surface Pro. Ironically, it's very similar technical info. But again, backers of the Kickstarter will help us decide if we should allocate resources there, during Hardware Voting that gets underway at the end of the campaign.
Macintosh has its own, non-UEFI bootloader (though it is EFI-compatible). Supporting it, and its not-so-documented EFI stack will require custom code as our GUI bootloader requires UEFI currently. And then there's Apple's trackpad, Apple's wireless, Apple's ALS, yadda, yadda. We know what needs to be done there - we just need to know how much it will be in-demand from backers before committing limited funds and resources.Last updated:
Microsoft restrictions on Windows® RT prohibit the development of a dual-boot solution for any Windows ARM-based device. We can't do much there, unfortunately.
Today Console OS is strictly a PC/Intel Tablet/x86 affair. We have enough work cut out for us.Last updated:
Good question - we need your help deciding that one. We know the market for Intel tablets, 2-in-1's, and Ultrabooks is huge - we know that from talking to the OEMs (system manufacturers). And we've already noted support for select desktops like Intel NUC.
But we're not sure how much demand there is from people building their own PCs. Backers of the Kickstarter will participate in Hardware Voting, and we'll have several questions there related to custom-built PCs. Once we aggregate that data, we'll have a good sense of how to best support as many custom-built PCs as possible.
As we've said all along, backers of Console OS will get to have the most influence on what hardware we support with Console OS, as we build to our goal of supporting the whole PC marketplace.Last updated:
As far as we can. Anything from the year 2011 or newer has a great shot at being supported in the long run.
Older machines have issues running Android for two reasons, typically. One, they don't support modern instruction sets. x86 today runs great because of modern stuff like SSE4 and AES-NI, not just raw horsepower. Two, old GPUs. An old x86 GPU may sound like it can blast past what an Android smartphone can do today, but again, it may not support the latest standards like OpenGL ES 3.
Our goal is to support all the x86 and PC hardware that can run Android as well as a modern Android tablet. If it can't do that, we would encourage you to use an alternative project like Android-x86.org that is more compatible with older hardware, but may not run the latest and greatest Android technologies.
We, on the other hand, are focused on making Android scale up to the awesome horsepower of today's PCs and Intel-based tablets.Last updated:
Thus far, we haven't found very many older systems that would run Console OS with Android™ Inside well, and lack UEFI. At this point, it's a requirement - but one we would be open to changing if Hardware Voting shows a significant interest (from backers) in creating a non-UEFI version.
One of the benefits of UEFI support is that Console OS can be compatible with the Windows Secure Boot initiative. After our developer releases, you'll just be able to install Console OS, without changing any firmware settings like Secure Boot.
(For the non-geeks out there, UEFI is the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface - if your PC came with Windows 7, odds are it has UEFI. If your PC came with Windows 8 or 8.1, it has UEFI built-in).
And, if you're not a geek, fear not! All the above means we've worked hard to think through how to make it painless to install Console OS alongside even the latest versions of Windows®.Last updated:
If we can, we will. We have reached out to Valve and are continuing discussions with them on topics like this one. Valve has not finalized the SteamOS bootloader or partition maps yet, so we can't give a clear answer just yet.
As to Steam Machines, they're not out yet. We haven't gotten guidance from Valve (we're still talking on that front too, especially for our own iConsole.tv family of hardware). As soon as we get technical guidance, we'll know more. Until then, the best we can say is it will be decided on a machine-by-machine basis.
We have promised that systems in our iConsole.tv family of hardware will support end-user SteamOS installs. We hope to have more formal support for SteamOS on that front in the near future.Last updated:
It's our goal to do so - but we had to limit our feature list to the bare minimum that we can shoot for with our initial goal of $50,000 to raise. We actually dual-boot with Ubuntu in the lab, routinely, so it's a matter of when, not if.
As to other flavors of Linux, it'll be based on demand but once we support Ubuntu, most Debian-based flavors should fall into order.Last updated:
If I contribute to the $100 Tier, can I plug my web site / Twitter handle / G+ account in the about box?
Yes, provided that it's nothing objectionable. We can also change the backer name to a company/commercial product if you so choose - same rules apply.Last updated:
We already support HDMI and DisplayPort mirroring. Our long-term goals are to support the Android auxiliary display API, first introduced in Android 4.2, and help it grow to support more powerful devices like what Console OS typically runs on.
Longer term, we're interested in working with Google to expand the Android display definition so that windowed apps can run across multiple displays, such what we are aiming to implement in Console OS Pro.Last updated:
From the moment we announced, we committed to sharing code improvements to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). Even projects that overlap/compete with us in the Android ecosystem will benefit from our work. We're trying to raise funds so that there's a startup that does nothing but focus on the Android PC/x86 ecosystem - and enhancing AOSP for that silicon is exactly what we'll be tasking our engineers with doing.
To be clear, for every AOSP component that we improve, we'll offer code commits to AOSP for inclusion into AOSP. At the end of the day, it's up to Google and AOSP code maintainers if they will accept our improvements on a case-by-case basis. If we have a significant lack of uptake on those improvements (which we don't expect), we'll look into other ways to get our changes to the community.Last updated:
Backers (who kick in $5 or more) will get a ballot at the end of the Kickstarter campaign. Some sections will be yes-or-no, some will let you cast votes for particular devices and custom PC configurations. How many votes you have (on those sections) will be based on your backer tier.
Don't worry, we'll keep it simple. You'll get your ballot emailed to you if you backed $5 or more at the end of the campaign. We can't send them out now as Kickstarter doesn't provide important bits like your email address until after the campaign is over.
We expect the Hardware Voting process will take less than 30 minutes of your time. It's meant to be straightforward, but detailed enough for us to be able to assess properly what the community wants from us in terms of hardware support.Last updated:
Our competitive comparison chart (available above and at ConsoleOS.com) starts to explain. We can't deliver manufacturer-grade Android inside a virtual machine.
Modern Android relies on the GPU - and virtualizing an Android GPU makes it impossible to scale Android properly, and deliver a true PC-quality experience. This is why no Android VM today can handle things like OpenGL ES 3, and why we can with dual-boot.
In the long run, we're working to build a hypervisor that we call InstaSwitch, atop XenGT. This will allow for toggling between Windows and Android with near-zero performance impact on either, both to the processor, and to the graphics quality and performance of each operating system.Last updated:
Where we can. Of course our focus is on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support initially. As Android and Windows device designs converge, it should become much easier for us to support LTE radios.
We already have approved one LTE radio but we're working on more and will have details soon.Last updated:
Kickstarter-vended Console OS Pro licenses will cover every PC you own and personally use, with free upgrades for life. You don't need to back us twice just because you own two PCs that you'd like to use Console OS Pro on.Last updated:
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