Turn Your Surface Pro 3 (or any Windows tablet) into an Android Tablet

Turn Your Surface Pro 3 (or any Windows tablet) into an Android Tablet

For a long time, if you wanted to run Android apps on a Windows computer, Bluestacks was about the only real contender. There are others, but the Bluestacks Android emulator was about the best, despite some glaring performance issues. That was, until American Megatrends (AMI) decided to throw its hat into the ring.

I've been testing a new Android emulator from AMI, called AMIDuOS, the last few days and the experience has been fantastic. Somehow AMI has figured out how to successfully bring a full Android tablet experience to Windows, with no major drawbacks. Essentially, you install AMIDuOS and you can choose to run Android side-by-side with Windows, or push it to full screen and transform the Windows tablet completely into the Android tablet experience. Everything just works – even Google Now voice controls. AMIDuOS takes full advantage of the hardware it's installed on.

When AMIDuOS installs it comes with some pre-loaded apps, including the Amazon Android app store, but doesn't include the Google Play app store. This is remedied with an update that can be downloaded that is then applied directly to the AMIDuOS instance. With AMIDuOS running, you simply locate the downloaded file, right-click, and choose "Apply to DuOS."

The file is treated exactly the same as a regular Android tablet update – again, giving you the full Android experience.

But, in this instance, since Android is really running in a virtual instance, the update is much quicker than experienced on standard Android hardware. The updated Android session was available in less than 5 minutes. When an Android tablet gets an update, the upgrade can take 15 minutes or more.

Additionally, AMI has embedded a configuration tool in the Android settings menu, allowing you to make minor adjustments to your Android session.

You can adjust the screen size so that it runs side-by-side with Windows, or choose to make AMIDuOS run full screen, converting the Windows tablet into a full Android immersion. The tool allows you to share files and common folders between Windows and Android. You can modify the Android working environment, or configure how AMIDuOS works with the Windows system.

 

I currently have AMIDuOS running on both the Surface Pro 3 and the HP Spectre x360. When the Surface Pro 3 is docked into my multi-monitor, mouse and keyboard setup, AMIDuOS works in that environment, too. AMIDuOS works in both touchscreen and mouse and keyboard modes. The HP Spectre had Intel VT turned off in the BIOS out of the box, but after enabling it (a requirement), AMIDuOS ran great on that, too.

To me, running Android is still just a novelty. When I want to do real work I need to switch back to Windows. After installing AMIDuOS it took me a long while before I could think of an actual Android app that I wanted to test. I may not use it all the time, but it's nice to have a good working Android environment for testing without having to dual-boot or carry a separate Android tablet.

AMIDuOS seems to steal a very little amount of resources from the Windows system and performance is great. On both the Surface Pro 3 and the Spectre, AMIDuOS works as if it was running on hardware designed for Android.

There's a free 30-day trial, which should be enough time to figure out if it's valuable to you or not. But, if you decide to keep it, it's just $9.99.

Go here: http://amiduos.com/

Here's the requirements:

  • x86 Processor

  • 32/64-bit of Windows 7/8/8.1

  • OpenGL 3.0 and above

  • Hardware Virtualization Technology should be enabled in BIOS

  • Minimum 2GB of System RAM, though 3GB is recommended for good performance

  • Minimum 2GB of Hard disk free space

  • Administrative privileges

BIG NOTE: If you have Hyper-V enabled on your system, AMIDuOS will still work, but performance will be severely degraded. When you boot AMIDuOS it will warn you about this:

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