Want to run Android on your PC? AMI’s DuOS is the answer

ami duos review header 2
If you have a Windows tablet and you want to run Android apps on it, or you want to play Clash of Clans on your desktop, AMI DuOS could be for you. It runs Android on top of Windows as though it was just another application. The promise of silky smooth performance and a low price tag of $10 reeled me in.

You may recognize the name AMI, American Megatrends Incorporated, because it has been producing hardware and software for the PC industry since 1985. It’s best known for BIOS firmware and there’s a good chance you’ve seen the name pop up as your desktop runs through its start up routine.

DuOS was originally developed in partnership with a manufacturer, but the deal fell through and AMI decided to release the software direct to consumers. I first tried it on a Surface tablet at MWC where it ran impressively smoothly. It offers the ability to run Android in a window that can be resized or minimized, and it can run the vast majority of the operating system’s apps and games.

Installation is a little convoluted

AMI tends to sell direct to manufacturers. It never really intended DuOS to be a consumer product, and it shows. Installation is a little tricky. You have to download files, unzip them and run an executable. Immediately I hit a snag because my anti-virus didn’t like the look of it. Overriding its protests, the installation continued, but then paused when I hit a pop-up telling me that I’d have to enter the BIOS and enable virtualization. None of this was overly difficult, and AMI provides easy to follow instructions, but some people will be put off.

amazonappstore

By default there are no superfluous extras, so you end up with what feels like a bloatware-free Android tablet running in a window on your Windows machine. Because of licensing issues it comes with Amazon’s Appstore instead of Google’s Play Store. It’s easy to grab the Play Store if you want it, though, as AMI provides a link to a third-party supplier and instructions to install it from another zip package.

I needed less than ten minutes before I was able to sign in to my Google account and start installing apps and games.

Here are the system requirements:

  • Windows 7/8/8.1
  • Intel x86 CPU
  • Hardware Virtualization Technology supported and enabled in BIOS
  • OpenGL 3.0 and above
  • Minimum 2GB of RAM, though 3GB recommended for optimal performance
  • Minimum 2GB of hard disk free space

What can you do with it?

You start up DuOS just like you would any other app on your Windows device. It works best with touchscreen devices because Android is designed for touch control, but you can use a mouse or a touchpad. AMI has provided a number of keyboard shortcuts to help you rotate, zoom, swipe, and tilt. There is limited gamepad support.

AMIDuOS_window

DuOS runs Android 4.2.2 and it’s essentially stock. You can customize the desktop, there’s a standard app drawer, and you can pull down the notification shade from the top. All the usual settings you’d find on an Android tablet are there. If you have a microphone connected you can even use Google Now voice search or commands just as you would with an Android device.

AMI also includes a configuration tool in settings that lets you set up folders that can be shared between Windows and the DuOS app. That means you can access the same music, videos, pictures, and documents on both. There’s also an optional root mode for super user control. You can even set the amount of RAM that’s available to DuOS to prevent it from monopolizing system resources.

Who needs it?

There are a few obvious markets for DuOS. One of the most consistent complaints about Windows as a tablet platform is the lack of apps and games. It’s also notable that many games are cheaper on Android than they are on Windows. Using DuOS you can access everything that Android has to offer on your Windows tablet.

DuOS can sync with your existing Google account and Android app data.

If you already have an Android phone and you bought a Windows tablet, DuOS is a great way of getting access to your existing ecosystem of apps and games. Not only is there no need to buy them again, but you can also sign into your accounts and have progress or files synced across devices. For example, I was able to sign into Google Play Games and play my Clash of Clans village. Players will rejoice in the ability to have a game like that minimized on their desktop, but it will definitely be a concern for employers!

Performance is impressive

On the gaming front I tried out Clash of Clans, CSR Racing, and Dead Trigger 2. All ran flawlessly and I was able to skip in and out of the DuOS window and work on other things on my desktop without any issues. The app does occasionally time out, just like your Android device screen would, and there’s a slight pause when you return as it reloads your app or game, but it didn’t crash on me once. I also didn’t find any compatibility issues. According to AMI 95.9 percent of the apps they tested worked well, 2.5 percent worked partially, and just 1.6 percent failed.

AMIDuOS_Clash_of_Clans

I left DuOS minimized for a couple of days as I worked on my desktop, skipping back and forward between the web browser, writing and editing images, occasionally opening DuOS to jump into an app or game. I didn’t encounter any issues with my Intel Core i5 clocked at 3.3GHz, running Windows 7, with 8GB of RAM. Checking CPU usage periodically, DuOS never went above 50 percent.

What about the competition?

This isn’t a new idea and DuOS is far from the only option out there for people looking to run Android on Windows. The most well-known software is probably Bluestacks, but there’s also Andy, YouWave, and a few others. AMI’s DuOS seems more stable and fluid to me, but all these solutions are constantly improving and it’s been a while since I used Bluestacks.

While Andy is free, you have to download specific apps to keep Bluestacks free or pay a small annual fee. YouWave costs $20. Taking into the account performance and features, DuOS compares very favorably. You can try it out for free for 30 days and after that there’s a one-off fee of $10 if you want to keep it. It’s the smoothest solution on the market, a smart alternative to dual-boot machines, and it will tick all the necessary boxes for most users.

The bottom line

This is the best Android virtual machine that I’ve tried. For a one-off fee of $10 it delivers exactly what it promises. AMI would probably tempt more consumers if the installation process was more user friendly, but once installed DuOS is robust and very easy to use.

This is the best Android virtual machine that I’ve tried.

It also seems to be developing fairly quickly. An update to Android 5.0 Lollipop is already in the works and AMI is still working on improving PlayStation and Xbox controller support. If you’re in the market for an Android on Windows solution then you owe it to yourself to check out the free trial.

Product Review

Mediocre battery and a big notch slight Google's otherwise perfect Pixel phone

Google’s Pixel 3 XL has two big flaws: The gigantic notch on the front, and mediocre battery life. That being said, this is the best Android experience you can find in a smartphone today.
Mobile

Pixel 3 XL vs. Pixel 2 XL vs. Pixel XL: Which XL is best for you?

A Google Pixel XL is the best phone to get if you want the perfect Android experience on a big screen. However, with the release of the Pixel 3 XL, you have more choices then ever. Which Pixel XL should you buy?
Product Review

Google’s Pixel 3 is a hair away from pocket-sized perfection

Google’s Pixel 3 smartphone is the best Android phone you can buy. It doesn’t have the best looks or the best hardware, but you’ll be hard pressed to find better software and unique A.I. functionalities.
Mobile

Here’s our guide on how to get ‘Fortnite’ on your Android device

'Fortnite: Battle Royale' is one of the biggest games in the world right now, and it's finally on Android, even if getting set up is a bit long-winded. Here's how to play 'Fortnite: Battle Royale' on an Android device.
Computing

Winamp eyes big comeback in 2019 with podcast, streaming support

Classic audio player Winamp is getting a major overhaul in 2019 that's designed to bring it up-to-date and make it competitive with the likes of Apple Music, Amazon Music, Spotify, Audible, and more, all in one go.
Computing

Is the Pixelbook 2 still happening? Here's everything we know so far

What will the Pixelbook 2 be like? Has the Pixel Slate taken its place? Google hasn't announced it, but thanks to rumors and leaks, we think we have a pretty good idea of what the potential new flagship Chromebook will be like.
Computing

Adobe’s craziest new tools animate photos, convert recordings to music in a click

Adobe shared a glimpse behind the scenes at what's next and the Creative Cloud future is filled with crazy A.I.-powered tools, moving stills, and animation reacting to real-time tweets.
Photography

Adobe MAX 2018: What it is, why it matters, and what to expect

Each year, Adobe uses its Adobe MAX conference to show off its latest apps, technologies, and tools to help simplify and improve the workflow of creatives the world over. Here's what you should expect from this year's conference.
Computing

Problems with Microsoft’s Windows October 2018 Update aren’t over yet

Microsoft's Windows 10 October 2018 update is not having a great launch. More than two weeks after its debut and Microsoft is still putting out fires as new bugs are discovered and there's no sign of its re-release as of yet.
Computing

Chrome 70 is now available and won’t automatically log you in to the browser

Google has officially launched Chrome version 70 on Windows Mac and Linux. The update introduces some new Progressive Web App integrations on Windows 10 and also tweaks the much controversial auto login with Google Account feature.
Computing

Corsair’s latest SSD boasts extremely fast speeds at a more affordable price

Despite matching and besting the performance of competing solid-state drives from Samsung and WD, the Corsair Force Series MP510 comes in at a much more affordable price. Corsair boasts extremely fast read and write speeds.
Computing

New Windows 10 19H1 preview lets users remove more pre-installed Microsoft apps

With the release of the latest Windows 10 19H1 preview build on October 17, Microsoft is letting some consumers remove more of the pre-installed inbox app bloatware from their machines. 
Computing

Apple’s 2020 MacBooks could ditch Intel processors, arrive with ‘ARM Inside’

If you're buying a MacBook in 2020, be on the lookout for a new "ARM Inside" banner. Apple is reportedly working on transitioning away from Intel processors for its MacOS lineup in favor of new custom A-series ARM-based silicon.
Social Media

Tumblr promises it fixed a bug that left user data exposed

A bug on blogging site Tumblr left user data exposed. The company says that once it learned of the flaw, it acted quickly to fix it, adding that it's confident no data linked to its users' accounts was stolen.