Bliss OS is another effort to bring Android experience (and is based on Android too) to the computing market covering all spectrums from smart-phones to computers. That means you can expect a smooth experience even if you switch from your smart-phone to your laptop or your desktop computer.
Android is the most popular operating system out there on the market. But the issue arises when developers and hobbyists want to get that experience on their beloved notebook/laptop/desktop computer. They are usually incompatible and even if it works, it attracts challenges because Android is designed for touch interfaces.
Today I’ll be covering Bliss OS for PC and go through some steps explaining the ups and downs, and also list some advantages and disadvantages too. Grab a cup of coffee and get ready to enjoy a lengthy 15-minute read article.
Table of Contents
Technical requirements for Bliss OS
You should know how to burn iso images to a blank DVD or portable USB drive, partition your hard disk, and change boot device order when your computer starts up. In case this is your first time installing an Android-based operating system on your computer, there’s another challenge after installation i.e. when you update grub boot-loader your Linux distro won’t register Android on the list. Will discuss them further down on Boot issues for Linux geeks.
Download Bliss OS
Head over to the website and click downloads link on the top. The page will scroll down where you can choose the type of Bliss OS for two different devices:
- For Phones and Tablets
- For PCs and laptops
Right now we’re interested in Bliss OS for PCs and laptops, so click the System downloads link and select stable folder, then select the appropriate iso file by choosing the most recent version and the download will start.
After the download completes, burn the image file to a medium of your choice (blank disc or portable USB drive).
Bliss OS Installation On Laptop Or PC
Bliss OS installation is straightforward and simple. Considering you have made a partition for it on your hard disk, select the appropriate device and proceed to installation. Once done, it’ll either prompt you to start Bliss OS or reboot your computer.
Moreover, you can run Bliss OS in live mode too without installing it on your hard disk (but requires more time to complete its booting process).
After installation, your first login will be prompted by setting up your new Android device where you can start fresh or restore app data from backup, choose privacy settings and data sharing with Google. The default home screen for Bliss OS is Task Viewer which is suitable for large screens (and comes equipped with a start menu like icon). There’s Pixel launcher too but not a great idea to switch to it because it’s impractical to swipe up and down with your mouse.
The User Interface (UI) for Bliss OS is the same with tablet android devices, thus, seamless user experience i.e. you don’t have to learn anything new. The only downside is with scrolling up and down a very long list of contents because on desktop operating systems you have a scrollbar that you can just click and drag up and down at blazing speed. Android doesn’t have such a scroll bar thing. And the natural scrolling for notebook and laptop users might annoy some who prefer view scrolling on their track-pad.
On Android devices we press the power button once to lock the screen, so one might ponder it’ll be the same with computers, especially notebook and laptop users (because it has a power button!). I did press the power button on my notebook computer, only it prompted me whether I wanted to shut down or reboot.
There are two ways to lock the screen:
- Double click on the notification bar without pausing and the screen will lock itself. Also, note that you have to double-click with the track-pad (or the mouse) left button in order to lock the screen. Double tapping on my notebook track-pad didn’t work, however, that case might not be the same on your hardware.
- Click on Bliss menu icon (or start menu) then click on the three dots to the right and select Lock device.
To turn back on the screen you can (this time) press the power button. Escape button works too but not recommended if you left an app running because it also acts as pressing the soft back button.
Restart and power down
This is pretty simple and (coincidentally already) covered up on Locking Screen i.e., by pressing the power button on your notebook or laptop. But there is also a desktop way to shut down or restart your computer. Click on the start menu and on the right, click on that three dots then select Power menu and you’ll be prompted with two different parameters: Reboot, and Power off.
Choosing Reboot will restart the computer and Power off will shut down the computer.
Bliss OS comes pre-installed with:
- Chrome: A web browser that allows a user to access and browse the Internet.
- Wallpapers: Download and set background wallpapers.
- YouTube: Watch quality videos online.
Moreover, apart from the above pre-installed apps, I couldn’t find the default file manager app on the Start menu list. You’ll have to download and install an additional file manager like X-plore from Play Store if you want to consider moving files between your device and portable drives. Another interesting feature is the Nightlight shortcut on the notification panel (will have to re-order them yourself) where you can toggle it on and off to get a better good night sleep.
I’ve tried installing some apps and games on my notebook computer. Most of the apps are incompatible and even if it works, it appears to be buggy.
App downloading pauses at regular intervals and I never got to successfully install my favorite game CarX Drift Racing. Popular chat application; WhatsApp isn’t supported but that might depend on your hardware, however, Telegram works fine. Google Play Books is awesome and I enjoyed reading ebooks on a large screen.
Moreover, almost all apps launch in the unmaximized state. There’s a maximize button to toggle its state but not vice versa. And while it’s unmaximized, the app window can be snapped to either left or right.
Boot issues for Linux geeks
Linux geeks who have their computer set up with multiple operating systems might get confused with Bliss OS not updating on the boot-loader list when grub-update or grub2-update command is executed. And there’s no EFI folder for Bliss OS too. There’s a solution to this but it’ll be like a three-step routine:
- Change the boot device order as computer boots up (before it reaches grub)
- Select BOOT and then EFI folder
- Select the grubx64.efi file to start Bliss OS
You’ll be successfully taken to an android grub bootloader.
Notification panel, by default, is stacked with shortcuts that are unreliable. Rearranging them is recommended. Turn the auto-rotate to Landscape mode just to be on the safe side. The reason is some apps aren’t designed to be seamless in portrait-landscape mode, so by chance if an app launches in portrait mode you’ll have a hard time turning it back to landscape mode. With landscape mode turned on, the screen will auto-rotate back from portrait mode.
There we go. Hope that coffee mug is empty by now ;P Bliss OS is great for hobbyists and curious users who wish to get hands-on with the new Android operating system before buying an actual device. Personally, I’ve had a hard time getting used to the new (Android Nougat) notification panel. Apart from that, it’s fun and just blissful having the Android experience on my notebook computer. However, be sure to expect a bumpy ride if you ever consider Bliss OS to be your primary operating system.
This article originally appeared on http://www.linuxandubuntu.com/home/bliss-os-an-android-based-os-complete-review