When I wrote about the BlueStacks emulator in 2018 (and rewrote in 2020), I wasn’t aware of anything else that would run Android on a desktop or laptop computer. I recently came across PrimeOS while I was looking over VirtualBox images at OSboxes.org.
I ran the image file in VirtualBox with the settings included in the image. It ran, but the cursor jerked around. I fiddled with the settings, but only increasing the memory to eight gigabytes made any difference at all.
It boots up quickly enough. I haven’t messed with any settings yet and the screen blanks as fast as my cell phone did before I changed its settings. Unlike most Windows and Linux virtual machines, there aren’t any guest additions. I could only leave it as “scaled” and drag the display around to something I was comfortable with. That “window” is still bigger than any cell phone display I’ve ever seen.
The only thing that annoyed me were the automatic downloads of the Google Chrome web browser and the YouTube application. The Play Store is available, so I should be able to choose every application I want to use.
Both the menu and the task bar seem to work well. I’m glad I can use my mouse since I don’t have a touch screen. During the brief time I opened and closed some applications that were already installed, I didn’t encounter any issues at all.
I don’t intend to run it alongside any other operating system. At least, not until it matures way past version 0.4.5. Running it as a virtual machine is all I want to do for the foreseeable future.
I often discover applications designed for mobile devices, without a laptop computer version. Having an Android operating system and the Play Store in a virtual machine gives me the option to use them without using my cell phone. A good example would have been Facebook Messenger before they created a matching website (messenger.com). I think the Signal application is still only supported on mobile devices.
Like the BlueStacks Android emulator, which I no longer need, I can use PrimeOS for modeling what it would be like to do all of my web development on an Android phone or tablet. Although I can install any game I can install on my phone, I have no desire to start up a virtual machine just to play a game. That could change, of course, if I ever find myself with absolutely nothing to do for more than an hour.
The PrimeOS website no longer functions. Apparently, the project was terminated. I substituted the link for the archive.org version. If you need another Android distribution to play around with, I suggest BlissOS.
Photo Attribution: OSboxes.org