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We've rebuilt Android™ to be a primary operating system for your PC, 2-in-1 or PC Tablet. Over 100 new features built-in already.
We started as the first commercial effort to bring Android to the PC. We're still at it, now on GitHub rebuilding - combining the best of the open-source world, with cutting-edge commercial drivers, licensed from Intel. (Console.com.co)
We started as the first commercial effort to bring Android to the PC. We're still at it, now on GitHub rebuilding - combining the best of the open-source world, with cutting-edge commercial drivers, licensed from Intel. (Console.com.co)
5,695 backers pledged $78,497 to help bring this project to life.

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Coming Next Month: Console Developer Rewards

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We promised in our last update, that we would announce this week our first major initiative for giving back to the open-source community - rewarding them to work alongside us on our new path forward.

Aside from Google’s Nexus Player, and the Minnowboard MAX, there really aren’t any devices in the x86 arena that are buildable officially. Not really any tablets or phones - what Android is supposed to be about... We're already working on fixing that with our reboot of Console OS, forking the Android-x86 kernel, and re-articulating it to build per-device.

Now, we need to incentivize people to fix and improve them - alongside our work of course...we've already started this year with new device-specific adaptations and new/improved Intel graphics drivers, bringing the best parts of Android-IA back to the tablet sector. We have more work to do there, but that doesn't mean we have to go it alone.

Similar to other community ROM efforts for Android, Console OS on GitHub will have individual device community managers - working alongside us internally at Console. But we can do even more.

Rewarding Indie Android Builders

Security experts get paid to find security bugs and exploits in code. Uber and Lyft drivers get paid for taking others with them, on their normal commutes to work. But what do independent open-source software developers get?

Usually, nothing. Let’s fix that.

Console Developer Rewards is a new initiative aimed at sparking developer interest in Android on PC efforts in the x86 and IA arena. There are thousands of people, every day, building AOSP. But nearly all of them are doing it on ARM. We think there are clear reasons why, one of which is just limited access to hardware.

How will Console Developer Rewards work?

You, the non-corporate coder, contribute code to one of several community Android projects targeting x86. Even if they aren’t ours, and even if they don't like us!

Then, you forward the code contributions to us. We tally your work, and reward the top contributors each month.

The exact rewards, and process for documenting and forwarding your work to us, will be announced in the coming weeks. You won't have to commit code to our GitHub, Console OS will be just one of many projects supported by this initiative. Rewards will be announced monthly at the start of each cycle.

Agent for Change

Console Developer Rewards is a test for us. It’s a pet project we’ve wanted to do for over a year now.

But it’s also something we hope to make a force for good. Open-source developers that don’t get a paycheck from a big tech company, deserve to get something for their hard work. They deserve more than just a warm fuzzy feeling. Those big tech companies benefit in the billions from your hard work. It’s time for them to contribute back to you.

We’re going to help put the pressure on those companies to put real rewards into the community for you to benefit from as you code and develop.

Coming Next Month

We’re announcing the broad strokes of this initiative today, we expect it to go live next month. We already have some great rewards lined up, and our goal is to give away thousands of dollars worth of rewards every month.

To be clear, no Kickstarter funds will be used for this initiative. Not one penny. Industry partners will provide the rewards, and we'll join in as well once we resume shipping downloads.

If you work for an x86 device maker, you can help. If you build x86 hardware, and you think it could work better with Android - reach out to us. We’re running this program on sweat equity, but we need the industry to sponsor specific goals, rewards, and targets beside our own. We already have some substantial rewards lined up, but we need a steady stream to keep it going.

We don’t want to make Console Developer Rewards just a program to serve our own ends, we want to make it something that the entire x86 industry participates with us in. So if you’re in that field, get in touch with us.

Why We’re Forking Android-x86 - And Avoiding a Shakedown

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Hi everyone, merry Christmas. We wanted to update you on how our staging of Console OS on GitHub is going, what we have left to do, and some recent controversy that has come up in the community.

A Brief History

Shortly after our Kickstarter ended, Intel suspended development of Android-IA for Intel Core processors. Later it extended this to all PC tablets as well. You will notice that Android-IA on Intel’s web site today only supports Minnowboard MAX - an IoT innovation board.

Some, in the past week, have accused us of being aware that this change was coming, while we were raising funds. Those detractors have accused us of fraud, raising money knowing we could not deliver Console OS going forward. This is not true.

To set the record straight, we sent several status updates, and engaged with Intel throughout our Kickstarter campaign. Before, during, and after. There were designated contacts, on both marketing and engineering, that coordinated with us throughout the campaign. Those contacts did not inform us of major revisions to Intel’s support, until after the Kickstarter campaign had ended.

It’s important to note what happens after a Kickstarter ends. We can’t refund people at that point. Kickstarter and Amazon Payments have taken their cuts, and our only path forward - is to deliver. Which, we still are determined to do so, even in the wake of Android-IA for PC hardware being halted.

To Intel’s credit, they have maintained their assistance with us, providing support where they could within the confines of changes to Android-IA, that came from the management level at Intel. We dialogued with them in-depth on how to move forward.

Our relationship with Intel remains strong, too. As we will outline at the end of this article, we are continuing to implement our vision, in spite of these upstream changes.

Ultimately, we decided to ship the final Android-IA base engine that we had been seeded with KitKat, and follow Hardware Voting surveys from our backers, which pushed us to get to Lollipop. This comprised the initial release that we made at the end of 2014, delivering Console OS KitKat to most target devices from the campaign.

A Year of Lollipop Logjams

For the past year, we have tried to jump start Android-IA for Lollipop, on PC hardware. We’ve open sourced dozens of kernel patches and tried time and time again to make Android-IA 5.0 work with PC hardware.

In short, we couldn’t. We wouldn’t say we failed, because Android-IA 5.0 never formally/publicly supported PC hardware (including PC tablets) to begin with. We did at brief periods, get it up and running. We even shipped a technical preview based on it. Feedback was negative, and we realized by around July of this year - that Android-IA was simply not sustainable today. Over time, support was getting worse for PC hardware, not better with each open-source release.

Unfortunately, this is coming at the very same time that Google is moving Android towards the PC, slated for around a year from now.

We hope this move will get Android-IA back on the track for PCs, Ultrabooks, and 2-in-1’s. But we cannot keep on waiting for the world to change. We started looking at other options. Frankly, giving up was a real possibility.

An Unreasonable Demand

By August, we realized that our best path forward, was to fork the Android-x86.org project, and make significant design changes. It had made success with Linux kernel 4.0 in supporting modern Intel and AMD platforms with PC hardware.

We reached out to Chih-Wei Huang, the sole administrator of Android-x86.org, who has been very critical of both Intel and Console in the past. We attempted to work with him, and even proposed a project to improve the boot loaders for all three Android/x86 distributions today.

Mr. Huang, unfortunately, demanded we pay him $50,000 in order to contribute and cooperate (PDF) with the Android-x86.org project. This is an underhanded effort with the undercurrent of a threat. What happens if we didn’t pay him? We respectfully declined, and decided to move ahead.

The freedom to fork, is one that should not be infringed upon. Demanding money to collaborate on open-source contributions, or to even review code commits for inclusion, is absurd. It has driven us to a fork in the road, literally.

Chin-Wei Huang has, and still appears to, work for ASUS. We have a high level of respect for ASUS. But we cannot believe that an employee of ASUS would make such a demand, even in his own private open-source projects.

Unfortunately, in the wake of not paying what we consider to be grossly unreasonable, Chih-Wei Huang has unleashed a broad and ranting campaign against Console OS, and myself personally. It’s unfortunate and it’s a disgrace to open-source.

This is not how projects should interact. We have clearly extended every olive brach, even offered to connect Mr. Huang with Intel employees - to affirm our story and where we stand. He has refused, and we feel, because we weren’t willing to pay his bribery.

Chin-Wei Huang has said he will ban any supportive discussion of Console OS from the Android-x86.org discussion groups. As such, we aren’t able to share our side of the story there.

Looking at it from the converse, had we paid Chih-Wei Huang the $50,000 that he sought from us… would he be posting these angry, divisive, and false rants today? We don’t think so.

Let’s be clear. Chih-Wei Huang is an excellent and talented engineer. The entire community owes him a technical debt of gratitude. And there have been some claims that we believe may have merit. We are hopeful, however, that we never have to test those merits. But we will not stand for his actions in relating to others in the community. It’s one thing to be a great engineer, it’s another to be a respectful community member.

We are willing to put this controversy in the past. We want the Android-x86.org community to grow and continue going. Our efforts to fork it are not meant at attacking that community. We expect that code commits will be swapped back and forth between Console OS with Android, and Android-x86.org, for the foreseeable future.

What We’re Doing Going Forward

Rebasing as a fork of Android-x86.org allows us to stand out. We’ve started to build per-device, effectively serving as the CyanogenMod to their AOSP. We're working hard with Intel to enable new drivers, too.

These moves also allow us to ensure Console OS will always be free, via GitHub. When we sell Console OS, we plan to commit most revenue right back into open-source development. And sales of Console OS will not be in place of our GitHub distribution - it will be right alongside them.

We still have a lot of work to do. Our GitHub does not yet have our curated, finely tuned app assortment. It doesn’t have dozens of per-device build targets that we have been articulating. It still lacks Windows support. But we aren’t going to rush that, based on outside influences. In fact, we’re unfortunately going to move slower in staging, as a result.

Claims we haven’t been open and transparent with you, our backers, should be laid to rest with this update. While this painful process has further delayed us - it will not deter us.

Our vision is simple: You power up your PC, you choose Android, and it works easily, and it works great. By infusing Android-IA drivers into Console OS with Android, along with Windows integration, and making it a great open-source platform, we think we can still make that happen.

To that end, we have relaunched the Console OS Forums with full source code discussion areas and contribution sections. We’ll be participating in them and welcoming (productive) discussion of open-source builds, alongside our user builds. Our Wiki is being updated with build guides and each device page will be updated over the next couple of weeks to focus on Lollipop.

This is a new start for us. On the downside, it means some features we planned to implement, won’t happen any time soon. Some we will still be able to implement rapidly in the coming weeks and months. Others we will change based on the rapidly-moving Android ecosystem. For example, with the rise of HERE Maps and other solutions, we probably don't need our own mapping app anymore. Running multiple apps simultaneously is a task that Google has now taken on. We'll build atop these solutions, and make them more integrated with the PC.

But on the upside, it means we can start committing code on a weekly basis, and gestate per-device builds for dozens of devices right away. We have the infrastructure, and the resources, to start making meaningful contributions.

Rather than pay baseless demands, we’re going to put thousands of your Kickstarter dollars back into the community, rewarding others to contribute to Console OS in open-source, right alongside us on GitHub - and to other projects, too.

We’ll post the first details of our initiative to reward other developers in the AOSP-on-x86 space next week. Overall, we are glad we’re still in the fight - starting anew but sticking to our original goals… we may have been dealt a unpredictable hand of upstream defeats (which we did note was possible in the Risks section of our Kickstarter), but we’re still fighting to deliver.

We feel it’s a fight we can stand to win, and even ship Console OS with Android into your hands licensed with Google Play. We have checked off all the boxes on our end to that goal, including applying to the Open Handset Alliance. While we’re still waiting to hear back from Google, we won’t let that slow us down - we’re going to take Google at their word that things like the rules of the road for Android, will be applied equally. And we’ll let you know if they aren’t.

Finally, to our backers most of all... We certainly regret these delays. But once staging on GitHub has completed, we will begin regular and consistent updates of Console OS Lollipop to you - alongside shipping remaining perks. It has been a lost year for us, in the wake of losing Android-IA for the PC. But we aren't going to let that stop us. We thank those of you that have stuck with us, and stood up for us, in the face of this tumult and chaos - both in the community, and in Android itself.

Android & Chrome OS Are Merging. And We Couldn't Be Happier.

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Widespread reports broke out late today that Google intends to merge Android and Chrome OS. Let's set the record straight: We've been hoping for this, for a long time.

While a lot of startups go out and say Google is "validating" their market, right before being squashed... this isn't the case here. Let's go technically into why.

We have always wanted to be the AMG of Android on the PC. It has been in our pitch deck for a long time (sorry, we can't share that deck online... legal won't let us). We have never wanted to go it alone with Android on the PC.

For one, it makes our job terribly rough. Intel pulling the plug for Android on Core processors is a great example. AMD thinking Android doesn't make sense on x86 is another. For the past year, we've had to do the grunt work that, frankly, we shouldn't have had to.

We (and the community) had to rewire Android's kernel and support PC silicon support ourselves, for our Lollipop release next month. AMG doesn't do that. They take an awesome Mercedes-Benz car, and make it insanely awesome. That's what we want to do.

Android and Chrome OS are built per-device. They're built for each PC. Even if Google shipped a one-click download of Android that was "generic" - it wouldn't change our mandate. We are the Cyanogen of Android PC. Cyanogen has no problem with Android on phones - they thrive strongly because of it. So will we with Google supporting Android on the PC.

Our release of Console OS with Android is on-track for next month. We just watched three movies straight in HD on it, over HDMI, from an Intel Core 2-in-1. We will take that technology, and use it to push the limits of Android. We now just won't have to fight tooth-and-nail to build the engine - we can focus on extending to the insanely awesome devices that push the limits... and support your favorite PC that didn't get blessed with Android in the process.

Today was a good day for us - anyone that says otherwise, is dead wrong.

Circling Back to Core

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Hi everyone. The whole team at Console, Inc. has been hard at work… and we wanted to share some good news.

Today we’re announcing that next month we will resume shipping Console OS with Android™ Lollipop, with full support for Intel Core & Core M processors - including most 4th & 5th Generation “Haswell” & “Broadwell” machines.

What we have done, engineering-wise, is performed the equivalent of a mind-meld between the two Android for x86 kernels out there - Android-x86 and Android-IA. In doing so, we’ve created our own Board Support Platform (BSP), which is basically an engine that we can license to OEMs.

Delivering on our commitment.
Delivering on our commitment.

How We're Making This Happen

Essentially - we’re uniting these two very different Android solutions, bringing the best of both worlds together. Powerful, stable Intel Architecture production drivers, with the community kernel that Android-x86 supports.

As we have mentioned/bemoaned… a few days after our Kickstarter campaign ended last year, Intel informed us that they suspended development of Android on Core processors. With over 300,000 people downloading our early-access, KitKat-era release this year, we’ve shown the demand for such a solution. Now, we’ve built the solution ourselves - adapting Intel’s Atom driver sets and components to work with Core CPUs, and Core graphics.

Consistent with our commitments to Google and others, hardware that we ship will still be Android-first. But Console OS as a product, will continue on with optional dual-boot functionality. And, as an open source project - one that we will now aggressively work with both the open source community, and PC makers on.

These advances were not easily won, and will take an extra 2-3 weeks for us to slipstream in to our open-source payload. We’re doing a lot of rebasing and tuning right now. Frankly, we weren’t sure we would be able to pull this off, in an Android-compatible manner, until the past couple of weeks.

This also means Console OS will deliver some of the first unique build targets for dozens more systems… including all of our original Kickstarter device goals. And now, we’ll begin supporting some cutting edge Core M 2-in-1’s and Ultrabooks.

We know you want a release date. We are back to staging on GitHub, and we don’t expect any further vendor delays. We expect (again, expect) builds to be available within the next 30 days.

For Kickstarter backers, you will get Console OS Pro builds - with all the extra features we’ve planned, along with firmware updates, app stores, and much more, for free. Next month, we expect to begin selling Console OS Pro for $9.99 - with a free future upgrade to Marshmallow included.

Looking Ahead

Longer term, we’re turning our focus back to hardware. Things like Console OS, to us, were a means to an end. Now that we have Console OS working on Core processors - we can begin to innovate in the ways we really have wanted to, all along.

One Year Later

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One year after our Kickstarter ended, we're still hard at work at Console.

First, let's take a look at some successes we've had. Hundreds of thousands of people have installed Console OS KitKat on PCs and 2-in-1's. We've had a massive uptake in support for 2-in-1's with Intel Core processors, which account for the vast majority of users.

In addition to that, we have the better part of a hundred thousand registered users. People willing to take action when we need them to. We know you want us to start taking actions that leverage that kind of following. And we will, check the end of this update to see how.

In all, not bad for a startup that raised (and has run) for over a year, on less than a hundred grand.

But we've also met some challenges. While we met our goal to ship Console OS KitKat in December on most targeted devices, the Lollipop Logjam™ has been our toughest challenge yet. Lollipop on Intel never formally supported our target devices fully, and worse, Intel never finished KitKat drivers. Support for Android on Core processors remains in limbo at Intel. And we've had to take over the bootloader and rewrite it from scratch to pass Google Verified Boot restrictions - restrictions that our partners were barred by Google from sharing with us during our Kickstarter campaign.

Read on to see how we're addressing those challenges, and what the road ahead holds for us.

Windows 10

Since Windows 10 just shipped - we wanted to take a second and address this first.

Windows 10 is out, and yes, it is safe to install Console OS KitKat builds before or after Windows 10. The two won’t impact one-another, regardless of if you use the Microsoft-offered USB/ISO clean installer, or upgrade in-place via Windows Update.

An Update on Android Security

With the rise of the Android Stagefright bug, we want to let users know we take this stuff seriously, even on betas. Our testing shows that Console OS KitKat is not affected by these issues. This is particularly because Console OS does not run directly on a cellular network, so it cannot receive MMS files automatically.

That said, we will evaluate Google’s new monthly AOSP security fixes. When Google releases them, we will examine and port in the payload if it provides a security benefit going forward.

A New Name

Console OS, or ConsoleOS? We know, we get that a lot too. It doesn’t help that hashtags create chaos there too. In one social media post alone, we often refer to it as Console OS, and close with a #ConsoleOS. It also doesn’t help that some companies have started smashing OS into the brand now. It also doesn’t help that Chrome OS and Mac OS shrugged this off, whereas SteamOS and watchOS don’t.

Going forward, we’re going to put this to rest. We plan to rename things to ConsoleOS. We’re going to get rid of the space, that’s all. By branding things ConsoleOS, it will be easier to search for online, and in social media.

While we realize this will take some getting used to, we will update documentation and even the Kickstarter site. This change will take effect when we ship Lollipop source code.

Speaking of Source Code…

We have started the process for open-sourcing, well, just about everything. The entire Console OS stack will be open-sourced and serve as a superset for the Android-IA kernel - with over 30 PCs and PC tablets staged out of the gate.

Now, here’s the catch - most of our target devices still have issues. We have all the necessary building blocks and drivers (finally!) but there are last-mile bugs to squash. We've gone into great detail on some of these topics in the Kickstarter comments. After we open-source the stack - that discussion will move to our Wiki and Forums, both of which we have received performance upgrades (and now load twice as fast).

We will be wrapping development in the open, along with AOSP builders and the AOSP community. This will include a public rewrite of our installer and bootloader (formerly called IAGO), which we have taken over from Intel and will be maintaining under a new name.

We’re going to put your Kickstarter dollars to work, offering incentives and bounties to AOSP builders in the community, to help us finish the fight. That process should go live late this month - if all goes well. We’re hard at work on it. We will offer nightly builds for device targets, just as soon as we feel it’s viable to do.

Finally, we're happy to report that our analysis of Android M is that it will be a much less painful transition - what we're doing today, will pay it forward to Android M when it (and drivers for it) become available. Unlike the massive restructuring in KitKat to Lollipop, Lollipop to Android M is a more progressive improvement.

Finally, An Update on Core

Intel has done something really unique over the past 18 months. In fact, we don’t think this really has ever happened before.

Over the past 18 months, Intel has shipped three totally unique generations Intel Core processors, each with new generations of Intel graphics technology. Refreshed 4th Generation “Haswell” - 5th Generation “Broadwell” - and now 6th Generation “Skylake” processors have all debuted over the past year and a half. Each have a different GPU generation (Gen7, Gen8, and Gen9, respectively). Typically, Intel’s “tick-tock” cycle yields a launch every 9-12 months.

But in the past 18 months, some chips have been released with as little cadence as three months (for example, Broadwell-DT to Skylake-DT was June to August, not even 90 days). Now you can see why we haven’t even tried to bring Console OS to Broadwell. We have to skip it for Skylake to stay alive, with the resources that we have.

6th Generation Core (formerly "Skylake") is a big deal for us. For the first time, Intel is unified around a single architecture. The 14 nanometer, 9th Generation Graphics silicon in Skylake will jointly run the gambit - from smartphones (via Atom derivatives), all the way to supercomputers. Until now, Atom and Core have been on different tracks - and that’s finally coming to an end somewhat. This is really, really good news for us - because Atom and Core are now cut from the same cloth, and ideally, the same drivers. Ideally.

As we have mentioned in the past, Android on Core development has been frozen at Intel. There is no Lollipop driver set for Haswell, or Broadwell. With hundreds of thousands of downloads of Console OS - we think Android on Core’s demand is quite proven.

So here’s what we’re going to do. Over the past few months, we’ve prepared our case for bringing Android back to Core. Things at Intel are quite busy - the Intel Developer Forum is a week away. We're going to be there all next week for meetings.

We’re going to wait for the big show to end, and then we’re going to make our case internally. We’re going to present to Intel the compelling 6th Generation Core products that we’ve articulated - products we think you really, really would enjoy. Products we think you would want to buy, and products that return Android on Core processors to mainstream development.

And, we’re going to ask for something simple - an up or down vote from Intel to enable us to make these awesome products using Android and Core happen.

If yes, we’ll hammer out the details, the roadmap, and the money, and get this stuff in motion. And if the answer next month is no, we’re going to present to you what we have brewed up - our vision and those articulated solutions. If it comes to that, we'll turn to you, and we’ll ask you to make the case for us.

But until then, and we are now getting daily emails and tweets - we ask for a bit of diplomacy and patience. We appreciate that people are emailing, posting on social media, and want to see Android come back to Core. You backed us because you believe in that - so hang tight while we make that case one… last… time.