For years, we’ve all longed for the ultimate all-in-one style device that can be both a mobile phone and also full laptop or desktop computer experience. Samsung has offered its own Android-centric solution through DeX, which gives Android a better keyboard and mouse experience. Now Samsung seeks to take that a step further by turning your phone into a real computer with ‘Linux on DeX.’

Other companies have tried to combine Android with a legitimate desktop experience before, some to greater success than others. The most successful in recent memory is Chrome OS, which has recently gathered Play Store apps together with its new Linux app support, which is distinctly the opposite of what Samsung is doing with ‘Linux on DeX’.

As reported by SamMobile, Samsung’s Linux on DeX beta is an installable Android app that will let you install a full Linux distribution on your Galaxy Note 9 or Tab S4. During the beta, the only distribution officially supported will be a modified version of Ubuntu, which is available through a partnership with Canonical.

Both Samsung and Canonical have indicated that the current target market for Linux on DeX is developers. This makes a great deal of sense, as many developers will be able to accomplish what they need even with the limited resources offered by a smartphone, instead of a laptop.

One known limitation of the system is that it cannot run programs designed for Intel processors. Thankfully, ARM-based processors are far more welcome in the world of Linux, and this should only be an issue with select programs.

Those who wish to try Linux on DeX will need to have 4GB of RAM and at least 8GB of storage space available, in addition to the obvious things such as a DeX-compatible accessory like the Samsung DeX cable, and a Bluetooth keyboard & mouse.

Linux on DeX registration is open to Galaxy Note 9 and Tab S4 owners until December 14th, with the beta itself beginning on November 12th. It’s not yet known whether owners of the Galaxy S9 or older DeX-compatible devices will ever support Linux on DeX.

9to5Google’s Take

I’ll personally be keeping a close eye on this beta. If it pans out and works even half as well as it claims to, I could very easily see myself picking up a Galaxy Tab S4 as a dual-purpose media and development device.

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About the Author

Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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