Orange Pi OS – An Android-based desktop OS with Windows 11’s look and feel

The manufacturer of Orange Pi boards, Shenzhen Xunlong Software, has formally announced the release of Orange Pi OS based on Android with a Windows 11-styled desktop that we are told can also be switched to macOS look and feel, and offering features typically found in desktop operating systems such as multi-window support.

I understand the current release of the operating system works on Orange Pi 800 keyboard PC and the Orange Pi 5 SBC should also be supported once soon. We’re told Orange Pi OS is based on Android 12, but that may be an error since I’m not aware of an Android 12 SDK for the Rockchip RK3399 processor. The company plans to release an Arch Linux Arm version named Orange Pi OS (Arch) as well as an Open Harmony variant called Orange Pi OS (OH) next year.

Orange Pi OS Android Windows 11 interface

Orange Pi OS highlights:

  • Design similar to Windows 11 with a Start menu and similar theme
  • Multi-window and multi-tasking support
  • File Manager that looks about the same as in Windows 11

    Orange Pi OS File Manager
    File Manager in Orange Pi OS

  • Settings – Network and Internet, Bluetooth, Desktop and Wallpaper, Display, Sound, Applications, Storage, and more.
  • Privacy – Removes some options that involve user privacy, such as location, phone number, SMS, notifications, etc.
  • Control Center – Popup showing on the bottom right like in Windows 11 to allows the user to quickly set up WiFi, Bluetooth, Hotspot mode, the screen saver, do-not-disturb mode, wallpaper, and the volume, plus the ability to quickly access the settings page via the Gear icon in the top right corner of the popup.

    Control Center Android Desktop
    Control Center

  • Taskbar to display up to 10 applications
  • Shortcut keys – Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V, Ctrl+A and other classic shortcut keys.
  • Google Play is pre-installed and users can install apps like in most other Android ports.
  • Ability to switch between Windows and Mac-themed desktops (soon)

The company explains the goal of the OS is to make it more suitable for desktop use cases, especially for users already familiar with Windows 11 (or macOS in the future), while still enjoying the broad range of apps available to Android.

The company has a dedicated product page, but it lacks details. As far as I can tell, the only way to try Orange Pi OS at this time is to get an Orange Pi 800 keyboard PC. The OS image can be found on the download page of the company’s website.

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31 Comments
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Phil
Phil
16 days ago

Looks potentially promising and the inclusion of the Play Store will make it more attractive.

I hope that it will run in 64 bit mode so that the most can be gotten from it.

I hope that their new Pi 5 board will come with a fully working version.

Jerry
Jerry
15 days ago

Isn’t it more productive to use the Raspberry line of computers on desktop? They’ve always provided fully open source drivers and open source OS.

Gnattu
Gnattu
16 days ago

This is an Arch Linux based distro but have Android compatibility layer installed out of the box from the description of the page. So not an Android based OS.

Gnattu
Gnattu
16 days ago

Wow, that’s interesting. This is a bad marketing strategy to call 3 totally different OS that not even run same applications under the same name.

tkaiser
tkaiser
16 days ago

> I think the product page is outdated

I think the ‘product page’ is just a typical collection of marketing BS that makes no sense anyway.

Writing for example ‘Orange Pi OS(Arch) … is highly compatible with open-source graphics drivers’ can only be done if you’ve neither an idea of what an OS is nor what drivers are.

Olivier Barthelemy
Olivier Barthelemy
16 days ago

It’s funny, my use case for Android on the desktop is precisely the reverse: people who have no experience w/ Windows/MacOS but a lot of experience w/ Android on their tablets and phones. I want the exact opposite: the same UI as on a phone, and, especially, no resizable/overlapping Windows since those are very confusing.

tkaiser
tkaiser
16 days ago

> I’m not aware of an Android 12 SDK for the Rockchip RK3399 processor

According to Radxa the smelly 5.10.66/5.10.110 BSP kernel we already know from more recent Rockchip SoCs supports also RK3399 since few weeks.

Willy
16 days ago

That’s funny because the first thing I hear from people switch away from windows to linux is “how finally, that feels different, good riddance” and the seek to *get rid* of the windows look-and-feel. So here it looks like they’ll have the worst of the two worlds: painful windows-like interface with less drivers and software choice than if they were on windows. If they want windows give them windows, they’re not going to have consideration for the underlying hardware nor resource usage anyway. And as a bonus point, they don’t depend on you when they need help.

tkaiser
tkaiser
16 days ago

> the first thing I hear from people switch away from windows to linux

Maybe you know the ‘wrong’ people? 😉

More seriously: if someone decides to drop Windows for Linux on PC hardware the reasoning behind might be quite different compared to people who just want to buy cheap (and either don’t want or can’t afford a PC worth hundreds of bucks). At least that’s what I observed in various SBC forums: people just wanting to pay as less as possible for hardware while using what they’re used to software-wise.

Willy
15 days ago

Regarding the price bias that’s a good point indeed. However, reading “decides to drop windows” sounds strange to me because before dropping it one would actually have to install it 🙂 Recently I faced a situation where I needed to access a windows machine (it was a year ago to unbrick my Stationpc-M2 thanks to the lovely rockchip flash utility that bricked it and the support wanted me to try the windows version), and that turned amazingly difficult to find someone with that OS around me. I’m serious. A friend had one in a VM so we could try. And… Read more »

David Richardson
David Richardson
15 days ago

I see the Orange Pi 800 as a great computer for Kids and Teens, but raw Linux is a little too complicated for most of them. This combines the stability of a Linux/Android OS with the advanced features of Windows, and Android’s Simplicity. It sounds like a great combination… I would love to give it a test drive if someone could create a VM/Emulator to run it.

Attila Szucs
15 days ago

I remember something like Orange Pi getting state sponsorship, that’s why their prices are/were so low. This can be concerning when using their software…

tonny
tonny
15 days ago

Nowadays, everybody spy on you. Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook, Instagram, etc.. etc.. So, add one (if that’s true) to the list is not that big a problem.

Or you can monitor their internet traffic, check whether it’s ping back to their mothership.

Jerry
Jerry
15 days ago

Fwiw, I’ve never heard Even Upton wants to spy on you. Even though they’re the market leader in the SBC segment

opensourcedude
opensourcedude
14 days ago

FYI. Months ago Eben Upton’s Rasberry Pi Os silently added microsoft repos. Many linux users were very upset and against that.
You may check the web for more info.
A sample here:
https://www.cyberciti.biz/linux-news/heads-up-microsoft-repo-secretly-installed-on-all-raspberry-pis-linux-os/

Tuff Pro
Tuff Pro
15 days ago

I remember when Android Desktop Distros where all in rage a few years ago.
Then using them was a pain because a lot of apps were made just for phones and didnt worked properly in Desktop mode.
And with ChromeOS being able to run Android Apps, made those Android Desktop kinda useless.

Still, it makes sense why they make one of these, since lots of chinese SoCs have great support for Android but sucks on Linux.

Theguyuk
Theguyuk
15 days ago

It was Remix OS who brought successful desktop Android to people. The Remix mini was to under powered ( Allwinner A64 ). The jide Remix OS was on X86 and Arm. Jide planned a RK3399 games machine but a company paid jide to go private as jides software could save the company millions in licence fees. Jide paid the RK3399 game machine funders back.

Olivier Barthelemy
Olivier Barthelemy
15 days ago

I’ve bought a ChromeBook to check what it’s about, and I wouldn’t recommend ChromeOS to most people: it’s full of glitches and weirdness – it has crashed in 6months more than my Windows PC over the last 10 yrs (HW glitches excluded ^^); there’s no hourglass which would be fine if things were speedy, not when it freezes for 15s w/ no feedback the native ecosystem is scarce and subpar. Even the Media Player called… Photo (a nice, user-friendly start…), has issues with files nobody else has issues with, doesn’t support swipe to adjust volume/brightness… Android integration is so-so, startup… Read more »

Theguyuk
Theguyuk
15 days ago

And now Jide OS X comes😁

renaud
renaud
15 days ago

Downloaded the image, prepared an SD Card and it does not boot on it.

Status : Fail

Theguyuk
Theguyuk
15 days ago

I’ve said before and got called things, for having said. The cheap hardware illusion is made up for by, software struggles, but don’t worry you will be told, as a customer it is your fault, your are to dumb.

renaud
renaud
12 days ago

From my point of view: I do not think about cheap hardware, it’s just a part of my time devoted to test things. I ‘ve tested a lot of products from Orange Pi and wanted to compare the Pi800 with the Pi400.

Tested the Pi800 with Ubuntu and Manjaro, but not convinced for the moment.

Sam
Sam
13 days ago

Typical Chinese / Asians who like to do plagiarism and steal ideas from original software makers. Just like Oppo who design like iPhone and now this one.

Jack
12 days ago

Ha? That’s Stereotype. Do you know how desired Elon Musk want to copy Wechat to Twitter?

Chris Shoemaker
Chris Shoemaker
13 days ago

As someone who develops device drivers for various platforms, I regularly switch between Windows, Linux, and Android. The “desktop” solution is perfect because I can launch several VM iterations, to check connectivity, environment variables, and what functionality does or does not port. In point of fact. Products like WUP (Windows Universal Platform) are closing the specific hardware issue across many areas, not just hardware. I think that soon we will see “universal apps” with hardware specific security and specialty functions only. Whether this works will depend on the users, but as a paradigm comes closest to open source, for transparency… Read more »

Christopher Shoemaker
Christopher Shoemaker
13 days ago

Btw. I use leaner OSes, like Linux, on older hardware to restore speed and functionality. This approach always works and when combined with certain hardware upgrades, will provide years of trouble free holiday dinners. Etc.

Fatoki Femi
Fatoki Femi
11 days ago

Good day, can this be installed on a laptop, I would love to see how it works. I’m loving it already

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