If you have heard enough about the Android platform, but are wary about investing in an Android-powered device, here is one way you can power up your netbook or laptop with a non-touch version of Android.
This version, the Android x86, is equivalent to Android OS version 1.6 (there is a stable release for version 2.1 and an unstable one for version 2.2 as well), which was originally called “patch hosting for Android x86 support”. This project was originally created as a patch for non-compliant systems to be a part of the Android technology movement. It offers support for Intel chipsets to run the platform on devices like netbooks and tablets, especially those using Atom processors. Thus you can enjoy Android on your Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7 powered netbooks and laptops too.
The Required Tools
UNetbootin will prepare your USB Drive
Once you have decided to take Android on a dry run, you’ll need a USB drive with at least 256 MB of free storage space. It is advisable to back up any data on it so that this becomes a dedicated boot-able device for the Android OS. Next, you need to arrange for the Android X 86 setup files. Go here, and save the “android-x86-1.6-r2.iso” file listed under the Stable Release section. Alternatively, you can use the “android-x86-2.2-generic.iso” file instead from the Stable Release section.Next, mount the ISO ï¬le to create a live boot-able USB drive. Go here and save the Windows version of UNetbootin. Now, you can proceed to turn your USB into a Live Android OS boot source.
Setting up the USB Device
Once you have all the required tools set up, proceed to converting your USB drive into a bootable Live USB drive. Plug in your USB drive and run the UNetbootin application. Select the “Diskimage” option and browse to and load the ISO ï¬le. Next, set the type to “USB Drive” and select the USB drive from the drop down menu. Click OK, and your live bootable USB is ready for use.
After all the ï¬les are copied, you will be prompted for a reboot. You can click Reboot to launch the Android OS right away or you can use it through the ï¬ash drive when required.
Select the 'Live CD – Run Android-x86 without installation' option
Booting up the System
If you want your system to boot into the Android OS, you must change the boot sequence. For that, start your PC and enter the BIOS menus. Set your ï¬ash drive as the booting drive. If your system doesn’t support booting ï¬ash drives, you can directly burn the ISO ï¬le on to a CD and use the CD as a live OS instead. On booting, select the Live CD, and select the “Run Android x86 without installation” option. Being light, it takes little time to load up.
Customizable intro screen, just like in a regular Android device
Surfing on Android
The Android x86 extends support to cameras, Wi-Fi, and more. Although it has been tested on several platforms with positive results, it may not work ï¬ne with every setup. For instance, we tried using the setup with a Dell laptop. The camera and recorder worked ï¬ne, but the Wi-Fi options did not work. Moreover, it requires a SD card to save data; it doesn’t really save or pick up anything from your hard-drive.
The OS comes with a set of pre-existing apps and widgets
Any apps you install will be available for the current session only, and you will not ï¬nd them on reboot. Although Android does offer a decent surï¬ng experience, it is not recommended that you install the OS on your hard disk.