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Flinging resource-hungry apps at landfill Android? Ubuntu daddy wants to lure you into Anbox Cloud

Canonical goes playing in the streams

Ubuntu daddy Canonical is aiming at the likes of Huawei and Google with its take on app streaming with Anbox Cloud.

The service is designed to offload workloads from x86 or Arm-based devices to containers in the cloud. All the grungy compute, storage and battery-sucking work is then performed elsewhere and streamed to the device.

If you're thinking this all sounds a bit familiar, you'd be right. Virtualization technology and app streaming is hardly a new thing, with Microsoft's xCloud and Google's Stadia being recent additions to efforts to swamp bandwidth with streaming gameplay from steaming data centres.

While enterprise Android applications got a nod from Canonical, it's stuffing apps that demand higher-spec hardware into containers that has got juices flowing. "Anbox Cloud," trumpeted Canonical, "creates an on-demand experience for gamers while providing a protected content distribution channel for game developers."

As well as players such as Microsoft and Google, Canonical also faces challenges from the likes of Huawei in its attempts to win the hearts and minds of gamers. The Chinese networking outfit has bet big on 5G technology, signing up companies such as NetEase to establish a 5G cloud game lab.

5G naturally features in Canonical's plans, with director of product Stephan Fabel exclaiming: "Driven by emerging 5G networks and edge computing, millions of users will benefit from access to ultra-rich, on-demand Android applications on a platform of their choice."

Those users will likely be customers of the telecommunication providers, and adding virtualized services (including gaming) to contracts will doubtless have an appeal to mobile network operators.

Outside of gaming applications, the tech will interest developers with CI/CD pipelines and the need to emulate "thousands" of Android devices over different test scenarios. Enterprise users seeking a way of deploying a single application over different form factors and operating systems also have yet one more way to try to and crack the cross-platform nutshell.

What will also appeal to some enterprises is that Anbox Cloud can be hosted on private cloud infrastructure; handy for those that might hold their noses when presented with the "infinite" promises of something more public.

The tech itself runs on the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS kernel with containerisation handled by LXD containers. The Canonical gang has also thrown in the Ubuntu Advantage programme with support and updates for up to 10 years. ®

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