Submit News Alternative Tip Form

Anbox Lets You Run Android Apps on the Linux Desktop

Meet Anbox, a novel new way to run Android apps on the Linux desktop.

“Anbox puts the Android operating system into a container, abstracts hardware access and integrates core system services into a GNU Linux system. Every Android application will behave integrated into your operating system like any other native application,” the projects says on its official website.

“To achieve our goal we use standard Linux technologies like containers (LXC) to separate the Android operating system from the host. The Android version doesn’t matter for this approach and we try to keep up with the latest available version from the Android Open Source project.”

This video of Anbox — which stands for ‘Android in a Box’ — shows off the technology in better detail:

Unlike similar initiatives that have promised to let users run Android apps on Linux Anbox doesn’t go down the emulator route. Instead, it runs the Android system on the same kernel as the host operating system.

Naturally this isn’t without its own drawbacks. For one, installing Anbox requires a number of additional kernel modules, and it also needs root access. This won’t suit everyone’s needs.

Anbox is in alpha — that means it might not work at all — and you should be aware that, for now, there’s no user-friendly way of installing apps in Anbox. Yup, you won’t (understandbly) find the Google Play Store, but neither is something like F-Droid available. To install apk files you’ll need to be familiar with Android’s adb and the command line.

Interestingly initial work on Anbox was done on on an Ubuntu phone. Naturally, with the Ubuntu Touch project no longer something Canonical plans to pursue, tools like Anbox are focusing more on its use on desktop devices.

“Anbox itself is still in its early phase and is in a pre-alpha state where crashes and instability is expected. The next phase of development will focus on stability and bug fixing and will add more necessary features to integrated better with the host operating system,” its developer, Simon Fels, writes in a blog post.

Interested in trying it out? Well, you can thanks to Snappy.

Install Anbox (Alpha) on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

To install the Anbox Alpha on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (this version of Ubuntu is the only distribution at present) pop open a new Terminal session and run the following command.

sudo snap install --classic anbox-installer && anbox-installer

To report issues or get involved in developing, head over to the project’s Github page:

Anbox on Github