Running Android on Surface Pro 3


#1

Have you ever tried Android on your Surface Pro? You really should. The Android-x86 project releases .ISO images of Android that are highly compatible with different Surface Pro versions, and it works on generic laptops as well.

Currently it seems that you are best off with the Android-X86 4.4-r5 KitKat release. The Lollipop version is in release candidate phase, but at least I experienced issues with graphics and crashed with applications that rely on Google Maps. But the 4.4-r5 provided a really stable experience, and it makes little difference anyway as key apps are updated via store. I was able to use all the core apps, play graphics intensive games like Hungry Shark and everything work great. The Type Cover keyboard and touch pad worked as expected.

I did however find two shortcomings:

  • Netflix and other DRM-enabled streaming services do not work. Apparently this is due to missing DRM (Digital Rights Management) libraries.
  • The orientation sensor is not working for rotating the display. This limits the use a fair bit, but with Surface’s form factor, the landscape mode is most likely the one you’ll want anyway.

These are just my initial findings and I will look deeper into this in the near future - possibly with the Lollipop’s stable release. I seriously recommend everyone to check this one out:

  1. Download the .ISO
  2. Write it to a USB stick (use Rufus if you are on Windows)
  3. Enable USB boot from Surface BIOS and disable Secure Boot.
  4. Plug in the USB-stick and boot.

The Android-X86 will boot and run straight from your stick, with no changes made to your system. Have you tried it yet? Please tell us your experiences, and expecialy if you know a workaround for Netflix!


#2

Android X86 6.0 Marshmallow has gone stable in September. Anyone tried it on the SP3?


#3

Finally found some time to briefly test this. Android x86 is so close to making my Surface Pro 3 great again, but unfortunately there are a ton of issues making it a mess.

  • Screen auto-rotation does not work.
  • Google Play Store is constantly freezing.
  • Several big name killer apps do not work, including but not limited to Netflix and Spotify.
  • More apps refuse to work saying an update to Google Play Services is needed, which I am unable to update due to failing Play Store.

I am verydisappointed in this release, even frustrated. Android has massive potential on the Surface Pro devices. When it works the experience is buttery smooth, making the SP3 a excellent super tablet - but unfortunately it fails more than succeeds in basic tasks.