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LiveAndroid software gains functions

The Beijing-based LiveAndroid project releases an early version of its software that offers "a taste of a Google phone on your computer."

LiveAndroid logo

The developers of the LiveAndroid project have released the second alpha version of their software, which allows users to try out Google's mobile operating system without having to install it on a handset.

LiveAndroid, a project based in Beijing, released its first alpha, or prototype, in May. Version 0.2, released on Monday, added major functions such as a mouse-controlled cursor, keyboard functionality and Ethernet connectivity. Other functions, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and audio, remain to be added, according to the developers.

In a Twitter update, the developers said a version running from a USB memory stick may also be released this week.

"LiveAndroid gives you a taste of a Google phone on your computer," the project developers said on their Web site. "We would like LiveAndroid to be a real OS for your computer, but for now it is only a toy."

To use the software, a user downloads and burns it onto a CD, then reboots their PC. Android then runs directly from the CD, leaving the user's hard disk unchanged. LiveAndroid can also run in virtual environments, such as those provided by VirtualBox or Microsoft Virtual PC, the developers said.

Screenshots of LiveAndroid are available on the project website.

The system is based on Android 1.5 and is designed to work on x86 systems, such as desktop PCs or Netbooks. It is hosted on the Google Code Web site and uses an Apache 2.0 license.

Android is Google's Linux-based operating system for mobile phones. On Tuesday Google announced the creation of the Google Chrome OS project, with the goal of releasing a Linux-based OS for netbooks and other PCs in the second half of 2010.

Matthew Broersma of ZDNet UK reported from London.