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I'm thinking of buying an ARM laptop as a second laptop for programming and hacking experiments.

Ideally I would set it up to multiboot Windows, Linux, and Android.

I've seen several articles and videos on the internet for setting up x86 Android on an x86 laptop, but can't find anything on ARM laptops.

I'm guessing it would come down to things like device drivers and maybe UEFI?

Is it possible for a normal person to install Android natively on an ARM laptop intended for Windows/Linux? (And preferably dualboot/multiboot?)

(I'm aware some highly skilled hacker types can probably do it using AOSP. I'm also aware I could just use a VM or emulator. For this question I'm only exploring the options of installing natively on the hardware.)

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    Do realize that this question is off-topic: Can I ask questions regarding hardware suggestions?. It may help to read: Bootloader/BIOS, flashing ROM and correlated risks. Why Android devices are more brickable than PCs?. Do realize that if you have a Android phone you may want to look at Termux for a Linux-like env. Or look to the RaspberryPi community for Linux on ARM. Sep 6, 2023 at 3:50
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    @MorrisonChang I'm not asking which hardware to buy? I'm asking if this is possible. Can you point to which sentence breaks the topic rule so I can change it? I'm not looking to run Linux, that's easy. I'm looking to run Android as the/a natively installed OS on any ARM laptop - if it's currently possible. Sep 6, 2023 at 4:45
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    Your question leads to simple "no not for mortals" answer. A slightly better one would be "Why can't Android be on xxx ARM laptop" but until source.android.com declares official support for ARM's SystemReady program the issues in my second link apply esp. getting drivers from silicon vendors for any third-party OS porters, related: Are there any booting standards for ARM-based computers?. Sep 6, 2023 at 5:31
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    @MorrisonChang: If the answer is "not for mortals" then I'm happy with that and would accept it as an answer. Before asking I had no idea if it was for mortals but hard to Google or not for mortals. That's an entirely different thing to a hardware suggestion and I assume it's still on-topic. Sep 6, 2023 at 5:45
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    I'm willing to admit a mis-read on the off-topic link rational. I'm not sure if this question isn't parital answered by the second link, which can be fleshed out by finding out how ARM laptops support Windows/Linux (which is not strictly Android). Sep 6, 2023 at 5:57

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Your difficulty with this is that boot arrangements for ARM-based computers are not currently standardised, and device drivers are specific to particular operating systems.

ARM Windows laptops are all based on Qualcomm SoCs at present, and Microsoft control the ecosystem far more than they do for x86 hardware. They seem to boot using a system devised by Microsoft and Qualcomm, which is quite different from Android booting, or Windows x86 booting. The device drivers you'd need for Android are different from the ones that come with Windows, even though they would drive the same hardware. You can run Linux on them via WSL2; Microsoft don't support booting standalone Linux.

Booting Android on them would require writing or modifying a boot loader and device drivers. It's a substantial reverse-engineering project, not something for ordinary users.

However, you can run Android apps on them via Windows Subsystem for Android.

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  • Yes I think it's technically possible but not currently practically possible. Perhaps some company will bring out a dual-booting Android/Windows tablet at some point and after that a dual-booting laptop would be possible. But it's unlikely unless the demand appears. Sep 9, 2023 at 5:26

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