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Articles Tagged:

desktop mode


Diminishing differentiation: Are all our gadgets making each other redundant?

There sure are a lot of gadgets around. Consumers today own laptops, desktops, tablets, televisions, e-readers, smartphones, smartwatches, smart speakers, smart displays, smart TVs, and smart everything-elses in myriad combinations. If you’re economically fortunate enough, you might own at least one of each of these categories of products, and for some categories, probably more than one.

As much as I delight in this abundance of gadgetry, sometimes I take a step back and think, isn’t this a bit much? Not because of some penchant for minimalism or an anti-consumerist attitude, but because of all the overlap. So many of these devices do the same things.

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Android Q desktop mode up and running through experimental third-party launcher

Android has always been open to desktop modes, but so far, this has only come to fruition in the form of manufacturer customizations like Samsung DeX, custom ROMs such as Remix Singularity, and other individual solutions. In Q Beta, the OS is finally adding standardized, native support for this option. Developer Daniel Blandford took the opportunity and has built the first desktop launcher that takes advantage of this.

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Android Q brings native desktop mode support

Several manufacturers have looked at solutions to turn phones into full-featured workstations, the most recent one being Samsung with DeX. Sadly, most of these required a costly dock to connect to external monitors, keyboards and mice, which led to limited usage. Since the release of the Note 9, Samsung got rid of the need to use a cradle and let users directly connect the handset to a display using the built-in USB-C port, which made it easier to use the device as an actual computer. However, since the solution is specific to Samsung, apps have to be optimized specifically for DeX to work best when used in desktop mode, or would otherwise just be regular windowed Android apps.

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Remix tries its hand at the mobile-desktop hybrid OS with Singularity

Jide's Remix OS is all about offering Android apps with a desktop interface, with a bonus of relatively cheap mobile hardware. And while the company has been expanding its reach into more retail products, the latest project it's showing off is probably its most ambitious yet. The "Singularity" system allows users to plug their phone into a monitor, connect a mouse and keyboard, and run the familiar Remix desktop interface while the phone is still operating in its standard Android mode.

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