A new tweaked version of Android OS known as ‘Maru Mobile’ has just hit beta, with the impressive ability to turn your mobile phone into a full-on desktop computer when connected to a monitor. Here’s how to get involved.
We’ve already checked out and been suitably impressed by Continuum, a feature on the latest Windows 10 phones (Microsoft’s own Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL) which basically turns your mobile into a desktop PC. Just connect your Lumia to a TV or monitor via Microsoft’s special Continuum dock and you’re good to go; it’s pretty damn impressive given how young the technology is. Check out our hands-on Continuum video if you don’t believe us.
Don’t get all jel if you’re an Android user though, as you now have your own Continuum alternative. Maru Mobile is a nifty new OS built on top of Lollipop that boasts a vanilla Android look and feel, down to familiar icons and the same general user experience. However, Maru’s true potential really shines when you connect your phone to a big screen using a USB-to-HDMI cable.
That’s when the Linux-based part of the OS kicks in, providing a fully-fledged desktop interface on your monitor. You can pair up any Android-compatible Bluetooth keyboard and mouse (along with other wireless peripherals), just like with Continuum, for quick and easy interaction. And thankfully your phone will continue to function as a phone even when hooked up, so you can quickly check for texts and take calls while working on your spreadsheets.
Need to dash in the middle of a desktop session? No worries, as you can detach the phone and then hook it back up later and your desktop session will be fully restored, just the way it was.
Right now Maru Mobile is in beta and only compatible with the Nexus 5 phone, but you can sign up and download the beta version for free to test it out. Just head over to the Maru Mobile website and click ‘Get Maru’ at the top of the page. You’ll need to supply your name and email address and then you’ll be sent a download link.
Team Maru is hoping to expand compatibility to other phones that support HDMI output, likely starting with similar mobiles to the Nexus 5, including other LG handsets. Stay tuned for more developments.