From The Forums: Neowin member runs Android on Surface Pro

About a month ago, we ran a story where someone had managed to run Mac OS X on Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet. As it turns out, one of our Neowin forum members managed to get Microsoft's Windows 8 Pro tablet to run a version of Google's Android OS, and he uploaded a video to prove it.

Long time Neowin member Sionic Ion (he first joined in 2006) alerted the forum community to his achievement in this post on Wednesday. The video shows that he installed Android OS on a USB drive and basically got Android to boot from the drive via some changes to a boot loader that was originally made for Ubuntu. The Android files were put into the Ubuntu installer.

The video shows that it takes a little while for the Android OS to boot from the USB drive, but once that's done, Android can be run on the Surface Pro. Sionic Ion says the only things that don't work, at least in terms of the hardware, are the WiFi and Bluetooth wireless features. That means you won't be able to surf the Internet on Android's version of the Chrome web browser but for apps that don't require an Internet connection it looks to work pretty well.

It's not likely that most people will be making much use of this Android install method on the Surface Pro, especially with no WiFi, but we still salute Sionic Ion for his work. Maybe someone will figure out how to get the wireless hardware working with the Android OS and then things could get really interesting.

Source: Neowin forums

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31 Comments

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Surface pro is basically an i5 touch enabled ultrabook which will also run OSX or any other OS installable on an USB drive, so this is news how?

well, you're right, it would be a world's first if no lag on arm... x86, i'm sure there was some alienware stuff that could run android smooth(ish)

Erikas said,
The Surface will become what the HTC HD2 was to mobile phones. It will run just about anything
If by surface you mean Surface Pro...then no not really. Surface Pro is a normal computer already.

Dumbing yourself down from Windows Pro.

Would have been better to seen it from a Windows RT tablet ... or just in VMware

Not exactly sure why this is news. Android has been on x86 devices for a while now.

Motorola even shipped an x86 based Android phone a while back called the RAZR i.

I do love the hacking scene, its where most modern stuff is born. But some stuff we see now is simply lame due to where we are legally wise. As Big Bill Once Said - and I'm always amazed this is used out of context......

If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today's ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today. I feel certain that some large company will patent some obvious thing related to interface, object orientation, algorithm, application extension or other crucial technique. If we assume this company has no need of any of our patents then the have a 17-year right to take as much of our profits as they want. The solution to this is patent exchanges with large companies and patenting as much as we can. Amazingly we havn't done any patent exchanges tha I am aware of. Amazingly we havn't found a way to use our licensing position to avoid having our own customers cause patent problems for us. I know these aren't simply problems but they deserve more effort by both Legal and other groups. For example we need to do a patent exchange with HP as part of our new relationship. In many application categories straighforward thinking ahead allows you to come up with patentable ideas. A recent paper from the League for Programming Freedom (available from the Legal department) explains some problems with the way patents are applied to software. (Quote from a Bill Gates Memo)

Agree with Bill, or MS, or not, but the above shows a keen insight inti where we are today by a true industry leader, this is well before the current fighting, he and Jobs wrere both way before their times, one focused on geek and the other on jeans.

BoredBozirini said,
Maybe now the Surface has a future.

Because Android (mobile OS) is better than Windows 8 Pro (desktop OS) right? </s>

But yeah, it's definitely cool that they're being able to get into the guts of this machine. We need people to become interested in Microsoft products so that they may continue to push them out. Maybe if they see sufficient demand they'll make it easier to boot into other OSs.

Yeah cos now a fully fledged PC can be replaced by a completely useless Android system that has no connectivity at all, cannot be used with Google Play but will let you type an address into a browser that cannot work because there's no connectivity.

I've no doubt Google will help someone port the full android experience just to get one over on MS though.

PsYcHoKiLLa said,
Yeah cos now a fully fledged PC can be replaced by a completely useless Android system that has no connectivity at all, cannot be used with Google Play but will let you type an address into a browser that cannot work because there's no connectivity.

I've no doubt Google will help someone port the full android experience just to get one over on MS though.

Android has more Touch screen "friendly" applications than Windows 8 for now. The only thing I can think of Windows 8 doing better is their Office application at this moment.

tanjiajun_34 said,
Android has more Touch screen "friendly" applications than Windows 8 for now. The only thing I can think of Windows 8 doing better is their Office application at this moment.

But... this is Windows 8, not Windows RT. Windows 8 is a lot more than just touchscreen. Plug in an external monitor and pair with a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, and you have a full desktop PC.

Try running Photoshop on Android or iPad.

tanjiajun_34 said,
Android has more Touch screen "friendly" applications than Windows 8 for now. The only thing I can think of Windows 8 doing better is their Office application at this moment.

Err you can run ALL Android apps on Windows. Check out BlueStacks, they even have a Win 8 optimized version of their software. And it's FREE (but still in Beta).

Heres Surface Pro running Android apps...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uc4bueBBPKs

Bet this wont get an article for it though.

But forgetting about the millions of reasons why Win 8 is better than Android, i'd choose it for the UI alone. Android UI sucks on tablets/larger screens.

1Pixel said,

Err you can run ALL Android apps on Windows. Check out BlueStacks, they even have a Win 8 optimized version of their software. And it's FREE (but still in Beta).

Heres Surface Pro running Android apps...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uc4bueBBPKs

Bet this wont get an article for it though.

But forgetting about the millions of reasons why Win 8 is better than Android, i'd choose it for the UI alone. Android UI sucks on tablets/larger screens.

Windows 8 UI is only good when it is metro style application. Which is very less for now... And I seen the rating all the apps kind of sucks.

LookitsPuck said
Would rather Windows 8 than Android on a tablet any day of the week. Android just doesn't make for a good tablet experience.
Agreed. For me, a tablet either has to have Windows 8, or Ubuntu Touch.

BoredBozirini said
Maybe now the Surface has a future.
Oh yeah! Definitely, because a mobile OS that's limited is better than a full-powered OS that can do the things a tablet can do AND the things that a desktop can do... /s