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Two OSes in one: DuOS-M puts Android on your Windows device

Preston Gralla | Feb. 23, 2015
Want to run Android apps on a Windows tablet or PC? Nothing easier with this new software.

DuOS-M runs in its own window, just like any other Windows application. You can run it full screen or in a small window on the desktop -- you can also drag the window around and put it anywhere you want on the desktop -- but you can't resize the window.

Its interface is the usual Android one, with the familiar three buttons at the bottom of the screen for going to the Home screen, displaying recently run apps and going back a step. They all work exactly as they do on normal Android tablets. There's also the usual Apps Screen that contains apps and widgets; you can customize your Home Screen by dragging the apps and widgets to it, just as you can in normal Android.

All of Android's multi-touch gestures worked on my Surface tablet, including pinch, zoom, swipe, rotate and so on. DuOS-M recognized my camera, audio speakers and microphone, so I could do things such as using Google's Voice Search feature. As the saying goes: It just works.

Most of the apps that I tried ran on DuOS-M just as if they were running on an Android tablet. Gmail, Google Maps, Netflix, Waze -- all ran without issues. The same held true for the games I tried. DuOS-M even uses Windows' OpenGL drivers for game acceleration.

I was quite surprised that it ran Waze, because on Android, Waze needs GPS, and the Surface Pro 2 doesn't include a GPS chip. To make apps like Waze work, American Megatrends says DuOS-M fools Android into using your Wi-Fi location and Google location services instead of GPS. (The company warns, however, that not all apps that require GPS will work on tablets without GPS chips.)

This brings up a compatibility caveat. If an Android app requires special hardware, such as an accelerometer, gyroscope or compass, and your Windows tablet or PC doesn't have that hardware, the apps won't work. And you may also find the occasional app that won't work for unexplained reasons.

For example, I was unable to get the barcode and QR code-scanning app Barcode Scanner to work, even though the app was able to access the Surface 2 Pro's camera. And DuOS-M will only run apps designed for tablets, not phones, so apps like WhatsApp won't work either.

Android plays nice with Windows
DuOS-M goes beyond just running Android on a Windows tablet. It also offers some useful Windows integration. To begin with, if you've got a desktop or laptop without a touchscreen, you'll be pleased to know that DuOS-M has mouse support -- so instead of tapping, you can click. Still, you probably won't want to run it without a touchscreen, because there's no way for the mouse to emulate multi-touch gestures.

 

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