Remix OS V 2.0 test drive

[German]Today (12 January, 2016) Jiide has release Remix OS Version 2.0 als alpha. I’ve had a short look at this Android x86-based OS. Whilst US media are “overwhelmed”, I got a mixed experience.


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Remix OS V 2.0 may be downloaded for free from this website (I don’t recommend a torrent download). The ZIP archive file is 692.15 MByte in size and contains an alpha of Remix OS 2.0. After extracting the ZIP archive, there are the files shown below.

The .txt file contains a few hints how to use an USB stick for testing. The remixos-usb-tool…exe may be used to create a live system on a USB thumb drive. And the .iso files contains the install and live image of Remix OS 2.0 (based on Android x86).

Set up your USB stick …

To create a booteable USB stick, just launch remixos-usb-tool …exe under Windows and confirm UAC prompt (the tool needs admin privileges).


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A wizard asks for the path to the ISO file and the USB disk drive. Because the tool runs with administrator credentials, there is a small pitfall: If you’ve downloaded Remix OS under a default user account into your profiles download folder, take care to locate the right path to your default users profile (the USB tool sets up the path to the administrators profile). Navigate via C:\users to your default user profile to find the right download folder (I mentioned, because many users are hidden by this pitfall).

Jiide recommends a 8 GByte USB 3.0 stick – but it’s also possible to use an USB 2.0 thumb drive. Such an USB 2.0 device will be slower. Also the 8 GByte recommendation is “challenging” – the life system uses 2.3 Gbyte on the USB drive.

After confirming OK the wizard writes a life system to the destination drive and reports progress.

It took a few minutes (I used an USB 2.0 thumb drive). After file transfer, the wizard reports success using this dialog box.

You can unmount the USB drive and remove it. Then you are ready to test the Life system via USB boot.

BTW: It should also be possible, to burn the ISO image in Windows 8.1 / 10 to a DVD and boot the life system from this medium. But I haven’t testet ist yet.

Gotcha! You need a modern CPU, but Remix OS don’t like UEFI!

My idea was to use an old Medion Akoya 1210 netbook with Atom CPU to boot Remix OS from USB drive. I’ve used this machine from time to time to test other Android x86 builds. In most cases a function key like F10, F11 etc. has to be pressed, to select the boot media. After booting from USB drive, the following Android x86 menu should be visible.

The Android x86 boot screen offers a Guest Mode (Life system) and an option to install the OS on a drive. For a test you should select Guest Mode …

… but I haven’t counted on the Remix OS developers. They compiled a 64 bit Linux kernel into Remix OS 2.0. So I received the following message on my Atom based machine:

This kernel requires an x86-64 CPU, but only detected an i686 CPU.
Unable to boot – please use a kernel appropriate for your CPU.

Hell, this will drop a lot of old hardware as not useable for Remix OS! Only a 32 bit Linux kernel will fit (but such a version isn’t available for Remix OS). Also they uses old Android 5.1.1 (Lollipop) instead of Android 6.0 (Marshmallow). As a conclusion: For my further experiments with Android on PCs I will continue with Android x86 (32 bit).

BTW: Using Remix on UEFI system will also fail – because there is no UEFI support at all. There is only a chance to see the USB drive, if UEFI settings allow a CSM mode. My machines didn’t allow CSM at all. Update: Now there is a EFI version of Remix OS available on jide website.

Using a virtual machine to test Remix OS

I’ve set up a virtual machine in VMware workstation 10.5, using the ISO image file and the parameters shown below.

I associated 1 GByte RAM, a hard disk isn’t needed, because of the Life system. For network connection I choose bridged mode under Windows 7. The I was able to select the Guest mode (Life system).

and boot Remix OS.

Here are the screens to set up the language/localization (English and Chinese – further languages may be choose later in the settings app).

And then we have to keep the legal officer happy …

Hell, we are still not ready – just another screen with Next …

Finally we are reaching the desktop – that looks like Windows …

The taskbar’s jide icon invokes the applet window shown below.

There are a few “Apps” shown within the apple window – but no Google Play store. But we can invoke the browser.

This was my first encounter with an “alpha” release of Remix OS. Whilst File Manager and some other apps comes with a title bar and buttons to close, Google Chrome did not show such style elements. Then the VM stalled and after reboot, I got the window mode in Chrome. But I could not see Google Play store. Finally I clicked the 9 dots icon in the upper screen to open a window.

Then I was theoretically able to access the Google Play store to download apps. But there is another pitfall. I was able to localize Remix OS for German language – and they also promised, to offer a German keyboard layout. But that isn’t true – the keyboard layout is still English – so I wasn’t able to enter the @ for my Google account. I’ve blogged about that in my blog post Modify keyboard settings in Android x86 4 RC2.

I played a bit around with Remix OS – the idea behind Remix OS is genius – Windows users will like it. But the life system running as a VMware VM was slow, and I have a few stalls. Also some apps are still in Chinese – and I would say: There is a lot to polish, till the alpha reaches beta status. But maybe I’m a bit too harsh. But using a 64 bit kernel is a no go for older hardware.

Links:
Google group
Reddit

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3 Responses to Remix OS V 2.0 test drive

  1. Adem says:

    error:
    “This kernel requires an x86-64 CPU, but only detected an i686 CPU.
    Unable to boot – please use a kernel appropriate for your CPU.”

    But 32-bit Windows 7 running on my computer.
    Why Remix does not work?

    • guenni says:

      As I wrote above: Remix OS comes with a 64 bit kernel – whilst your CPU is only capable to run 32 bit Windows. Or some instruction sets needed by Remix OS are not supported from your CPU.

  2. Steve G says:

    I understand about what Alpha is. In Remix OS’s current form this is pretty painful to use, especially with the blinking cursor in the middle of the screen. I think I’ll wait and monitor how it graduates before trying again. I will say that this is off to an excellent start though.

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