View Poll Results: Is it now time for a phone powered desktop?

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  • Yes

    1 100.00%
  • No

    0 0%
  1. SmilerOnline's Avatar
    With the recent announcement of Microsoft Continuum which allow you to cast a desktop UI to an external display:

    And Canonical’s similar projects with Unity.
    Is it time that all major OS' support a feature like this?.

    I think that Android could potentially offer a great experience with something like this, and with some of the available solutions like Chromecast, it can't be that difficult to cast a desktop UI to an external display wirelessly.

    There is certainly the hardware available today to provide a basic desktop experience which could handle all of the simple tasks that most (excluding us geeks) users like to use a desktop size display(or larger) for.

    There are many people that are interested in something like this for Android, hence there are projects such as Andromium out there.
    The only trouble is that in order to provide a well built desktop experience there is a need for better OS level support.
    I have developed some apps for Android myself as a hobbyist developer, and I often like to tinker with some of the code just to see if it could be possible with the API's available today to develop a full secondary display desktop like experience,
    But unfortunately in order to create this kind of experience today your users would require a rooted device, which suddenly drops your potential market dramatically, and then your overall user base are most likely to be power users that want a little more grunt for the sort of tasks which they would like to perform...

    I would say that there is a need for some of the following in a future revision of the Android OS/SDK to enable developers to create a secondary/desktop launcher/experience or apps that integrate well.

    • On Window resize calls - On startup I can easily adjust the content in view to better utilise the available space, but if the window is resized it would need to call this again to allow the app to work out what layout would be best suited for this window size.

    • Different DPI information to be sent to the app on launch - If you want the app to show a tablet style UI in a window on the external display which it is cast to, the app would need to receive a different DPI setting, in order to avoid the app showing the exact same UI on the external display (when in full screen) just effectively stretched to the size of the external display with no extra text or buttons in view.

    • A desktop launcher intent - The reason for this is so that you could maybe use the 'Google Now Launcher' on your phone, but use a third party launcher to provide the desktop experience.
    This intent could simply be called when you click something like 'Cast to external display' if the device is able to emulate mouse & keyboard input, otherwise just simply call it when your device detects a mouse & keyboard (connected via bluetooth or USB-OTG), and your device is within range of a Chromecast like device.

    There may be a few other things which would be helpful, but I think that these would mostly cover what Android needs to provide a desktop like experience.

    But obviously compatibility with older apps (or apps not supporting this technology), will be an issue due to the lack of window resizing support, but it can't be too difficult to implement a simple 'Window size selection' pop-up on its first run in desktop mode, and then you can check 'do not ask again' if you want it to always display the window in that size on an external display.
    This would enable the user to make the app configure its UI as though it was running on a 7 inch device (or other sizes), when in actual fact it is running in a fixed size window emulating a 7 inch display (or other sizes).

    I cant help but wonder why Google hasn't done this sooner to be honest, as they have experience in creating a basic desktop OS with Chrome OS, why couldn't they just bring much of that functionality to Android and have both teams working on improving the Android experience.

    Anyway, just my thoughts, but what do you think about the possibility of phones casting a desktop like UI to an external display?.
    05-06-2015 12:25 PM
  2. Ichi_Bear's Avatar
    I like that convergence idea. I'm sure there's people at Google looking at integration of Android and Chrome OS 😊👍✌

    Sent from my SM-G901F using Tapatalk
    05-06-2015 12:43 PM
  3. SmilerOnline's Avatar
    I'm sure there's people at Google looking at integration of Android and Chrome OS
    I certainly hope so, as I worry that if they don't, then we might end up back in a position where Microsoft has the biggest overall share of the OS market, and other OS' only have a user base as big as Apple's/Canonical's market share (before the first iPhone), and if that is the case, then surely innovation in that space will dramatically slow down, but at the moment with so many OS' bringing so much competition, we see much more innovation and without it I don't think Windows 10 would be anywhere near as innovative as it appears to be.
    05-06-2015 12:51 PM

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