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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'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'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.
5,695 backers pledged $78,497 to help bring this project to life.

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


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


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


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.

I/O Eve Update


Hi everyone, Christopher here. We want to give more regular reports, but at times, we have to hunker down and press on. We'll dip into a few reasons why - and some results, in today's pre-Google I/O update.

First, A Progress Report

As we've shown off over the past week (or two) we have overcome the biggest hurdles to getting Console OS to continue releasing - we're up and running on Lollipop!

60 fps Android easter eggs, and the Google Verified Boot-ready bootloader running on 32-bit firmware.
60 fps Android easter eggs, and the Google Verified Boot-ready bootloader running on 32-bit firmware.
In other words, we're close to shipping releases again. Follow us on Twitter @iConsole (just click the image above) for the absolute latest.
In other words, we're close to shipping releases again. Follow us on Twitter @iConsole (just click the image above) for the absolute latest.

To be clear, we have the Android kernel, bootloader, and graphics systems fully working on Lollipop. Our vendor partners have (re) committed to giving us drivers for audio, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS.

That has been a major pain point with Android 5.0 - rest assured, we've been battling this on all fronts.

Vendors Deliver... In 5.1 Steps

As we've mentioned in the past, Android 5.0 hasn't been easy for anyone. It has been a major point of contention for the entire Android building community. My own Moto X, Google's flagship phone for 2013, still is not running Lollipop. It's still at Android 4.4, KitKat. We poured, our hearts, souls, and forsaked tens of thousands worth of salary to make Android 5.0 work.

Unfortunately, vendors did not deliver drivers for 5.0, and are forcing us to step up to Android 5.1 to deliver a working build that you all can use daily. We were informed of this decision from upstream hardware vendors after our last Kickstarter update.

The good news is, over 90% of the patches and adaptations that we tested, engineered, and validated for Android 5.0 on Intel, are already present and have been integrated into Android 5.1 (aka MR1, or Maintenance Release 1).

What's going to make Android 5.1 different? Primarily, vendors are delivering. Just this morning (at 4:36 AM Pacific - long day), we received the first payload of PC-compatible binary drivers for Android 5.1. We're starting work immediately on integrating those.

We know Google I/O is tomorrow. And a new version of Android is likely to be announced there. All public statements from Google have indicated it will be a considerable period of time before any major new version of Android ships. We are holding back any comments until we get the full news - we don't get any early access to those details.

What we can say is that Intel open-sourced the IA kernel for Android 5.1 last week. In the past five days, we've already migrated all our platform work to 5.1. And, we've already integrated and sent along the two or three show-stopping bugs that we now have to plow through. Please keep in mind that it may take weeks for us to fully adapt and integrate Android 5.1 - drivers and bootloader bugs have appeared that we have to squash, particularly on UEFI32. But, we got it working on Android 5.0, we're confidence we can release on 5.1.

If there was a single vendor shrugging us off, not cooperating, we'd let you all loose on them. Unfortunately, the downside to this way-too-drawn-out process is that we can't gripe and complain much in-between.

We haven't been able to grow as a company because of these perpetual delays upstream. But, as long as we're making progress, we just have to keep our heads down and keep working.

And, for what it's worth, Motorola had to skip Android 5.0 entirely too for most of its devices... and we're attempting things with Android that the big manufacturers don't even try. We may not beat Motorola to Android 5.1 on their full fleet of ARM, but we're at least holding our own with groundbreaking work on the x86 side.

An Update on Open Sourcing Console OS

We think we have the path for open-sourcing Console OS pretty well mapped out. Our driver vendor partners have been very open and cooperative with this process. No startup has ever tried to get Android up and running on a PC natively...

So while it has been slow... and frankly, painful... we have gotten more access and support than any past effort ever has. We can't thank enough all the chipset and hardware vendors out there for working with us, and keeping all this going. And, we can now provide our roadmap for open-sourcing Console OS, so that the community can build and help us grow.

Open-sourcing Console OS will come in three phases:

  • First, the kernel and bootloader will go up. This will include device-specific mappings and adaptations (device targets) for all the Intel Atom devices we have built out.
  • Next, and alongside this, we're going to revamp and relaunch our Forums and Wiki with a new emphasis on supporting developers and contributors, alongside users - in separate sections of each respective site. More importantly, we promise to put significant amounts of your Kickstarter dollars back into the community to encourage developers to contribute. Details of where this money will be allocated will become clear soon, but we are admirers of the Google Summer of Code technique of rewarding dedicated developers with targeted goals and code sprints.
  • Finally, after we take in feedback from our developers and partners, we will offer a closed source overlay. This will start to overlay any private code that we can't open-source or is internal to Console development. For AOSP builders out there, this will work very similar to the Nexus Device Binaries that you find from Google.

So, When?

We know that's the sticking point, and as we mentioned above, integrating and adapting MR1 will take a few weeks. That 10% we mentioned earlier is the tough part. We're optimistic June will be the month that this all comes together.

One thing we can confirm about timetables more definitively, we are staging Console OS with Android 5.1-based release code to be open-sourced jointly with posted downloads. Not just the kernel, but enough to get Android to come to life on dozens of new devices.

Finally, as you can imagine, no startup can live on $78,000 indefinitely. We've stuck to our word and not taken in a dime until Lollipop is out the door.

And, we feel we owe you backers more than we can push out... despite challenges from upstream we had no way of anticipating (like, having to rewrite our installation process from scratch because of a new Android release, that didn't exist until after our Kickstarter ended).

At the same time, we've always said we want Console OS Standard to be free. We've certainly had time to think on this one.

As a result, when Console OS releases resume, the source code will be free (of course), but our compiled builds of Console OS Standard will cost $10 USD. We expect they will be available both on flash drive, as well as via direct device install.

Of course, all Kickstarter backers will continue to get Console OS free for life. Nothing has changed there. And people will be able to build Console OS Standard and use it themselves for free, too.

But, only builds shipped (and sold) by Console will be able to take advantage of things like automatic updates from our servers, as well as our rigorous testing and optional code-signed bootloaders for added security through UEFI Secure Boot.

We hope this strikes a solid balance. We've gotten too many emails to count asking how people can support. Now, you can choose - you can contribute to the open-source community and build Console OS Standard for free, or you'll be able to purchase a secure and tested distribution with updates signed by our team.

Finally, thanks for hanging in there with us. We've poured our hearts and souls into keeping this going, despite several technical 2x4's to the head after our Kickstarter ended. Once people start using Console OS with Android in the real world - we can start leveraging your voice to help push the Android performance ceiling onward and upward... which has been our unphased goal since the beginning.

- Christopher Price, Founder

The Latest on Console Development


Back from MWC

First, we want to thank everyone at Intel for letting us get such a large stage to introduce iConsole micro. Bringing the full Android TV platform to a device so small isn’t going to be easy, but we’re up for the challenge. We'll be sharing most of stash of unposed photos and videos over the next week, on social media.

Missing Socket Wrenches

Let's the the bad news out of the way first. We’re still waiting on the full tool chest from Intel to build for Android on Intel chips. We thought we had received it last month, but we discovered major tools missing from our payload, right before departing for Mobile World Congress.

Being the first startup to do anything means taking arrows. We’ve taken more than our fair share. 

Keep in mind, no Intel device in the United States has Android 5.0 in production today. We’ve been making progress in the mean time pushing Console OS DR1, proving there’s demand for Android as a primary OS, that scales on up to Intel Core processors.

These tools just started to ship platform developers, and we’re coordinating with Intel to get what’s missing from our latest delivery. We hope to receive the remaining tools needed later this week. A good chunk of the Intel team is attending the Android Builder’s Summit, so that may slip into next week.

Part of the problem is something that we've had trouble explaining because of NDAs. In late 2014, Intel announced the Reference Design for Android program. As part of that realignment, all the tools to build Android devices on Lollipop, were restructured.

This restructuring grouped tools (and licensing) based on if you were building a reference design (like a standard Intel Atom tablet), or if you were doing something that required even more advanced tools (like, building iConsole micro). We fall into the latter category, obviously.

So, even if we had a tool chest to build with KitKat… we had to start all over requesting the same tools for Lollipop. Some of those tools became owned by different people, different teams... the path for startups on all that is really starting to come into focus, well, right now. In a toolchest analogy, we're missing a few key socket wrenches to adapt the kernel for unique hardware.

Add to that Android 5.0’s painful release cycle (on both ARM and x86) and you can how this can become painful for the first startup building Android innovations (like iConsole micro and Console OS) can pile up.

We are confident we're doing the right stuff, and moving the ball forward as fast as we can. If anything gets in the way, or we need your help, we’ll let you know. It's not time to put The Stig in a tank just yet. You're getting as fast a development update as we can share on this.

Nobody is getting rich here waiting for these tools, so rest assured, we’re working hard (without pay) to make this happen.

And yes, as soon as we get these missing bits of code, we should be able to begin building for devices with 32-bit firmware. Intel is providing the same technical assistance they would give to every other platform builder, and that includes training us on tools we're still waiting to be delivered.

Keeping on Track

In order to meet our original timetable to start open-sourcing major components of Console OS, we have to get the remaining "socket wrenches" that we need. So, we're giving everyone a head's up that we may have to bump that goal back by a few weeks.

While that process continues to play out, we will continue with our work to develop Pro features, implementing Console OS Pro as planned after we get to Lollipop. And, we’ll also work on getting some of those more ancillary/straggler perks out the door that haven’t shipped out yet.

Security Focus

You may have heard news about Google changing the security posture for Android 5.0. As you may have heard, a big change in Lollipop is that every Android device must now be encrypted - even on the very first boot.

What Google did late last month, was make encryption optional once again in Android. That means that platform builders (people like us) don’t have to automatically encrypt your Android install from the factory.

There are reasons why you might not want to encrypt. One big reason is performance. We're working hard to performance test (since, well, we have the time on our hands...), and we've only found a few devices that actually need encryption disabled. Most of these have very cheap eMMC storage platforms that just weren't built to handle the rigors of full disk encryption. We plan to offer builds that both encrypt by default (pursuant to AOSP recommendations). And, we'll also offer builds for devices that do not encrypt by default.

Keep in mind that even if we don’t enable encryption by default, that you can still turn it on manually inside Settings -> Security. There is no difference otherwise in the encryption protocol.

New Unreal Engine 4 Technology Demos for Backers

Finally, we know waiting for Lollipop is not fun. As we mentioned above, we’re doing everything we can on that front.

In the mean time, we’ve whipped up some great new tech demos optimized for Console OS DR1. And, we’re making them available initially just for Kickstarter backers.

If you're a Kickstarter backer, to download them, log in to and enjoy. To show you the potential of Console OS, we’ve also published ARM versions of the same tech demos, so you can install on your typical Android device with an ARM processor to compare to.

We'll be monitoring the performance of these early-access releases, and eventually share them with everyone in the coming weeks.