Want a Linux desktop on your Android phone? Samsung's working on it

But you'll need the $100 Samsung DeX dock to use your favorite Linux distribution.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Samsung is working on an app that lets users run a variety of Linux-based desktops on its Galaxy phones.

The Linux on Galaxy app works with the DeX, a dock that converts a Galaxy phone into a desktop PC when connected to a keyboard and mouse.

According to Samsung's brief description, Linux on Galaxy will allow developers to use their favorite Linux distribution from a mobile. Whether it's Debian or Ubuntu, the Linux-based desktop OS will run inside the app on Android, which itself has a Linux-based kernel.

Samsung hasn't offered any details about how the app works or what the install process is like. Developers can already run Linux distributions on Android, but it requires installing several apps and rooting the device.

Actually using Linux on Galaxy will likely require DeX, given that Linux software and apps are designed to be used with a mouse and keyboard, with DeX also allowing developers to view their work on a larger display.

Samsung hasn't set a release date for Linux on Galaxy and says it is still a work in progress, however, developers can sign up here for information about its availability.

Dex works with a variety of apps, including Microsoft Office and Samsung mobile apps that have been resized for a larger display. However, many apps, like Netflix, Facebook, Spotify and Twitter either don't work or aren't optimized for DeX.

While early Office support for DeX catered to road warriors with a Note 8 or Galaxy S8, with Linux on Galaxy, Samsung appears to be attempting to expand DeX's appeal to software developers.

"Linux on Galaxy enables developers to use Samsung smartphones for all their computing needs, even app development," says Samsung.

Samsung has also been working with mobile game developers to boost support for DeX's larger display requirements. New DeX-enabled mobile games include Vainglory, Survival Arena, BombSquad and Lineage 2 Revolution, with Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition coming in a few months.

Samsung's DeX is the latest of many attempts to turn a phone into a PC. Huawei is also having a crack at the concept with the Mate 10 due out later this month.


The DeX transforms a Samsung Galaxy phone into a desktop PC.

Image: Samsung

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