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Canonical unveils stripped back Android-in-the-Cloud "development playground"

With Netflix entering the mobile game streaming space, there's a lot to play for

Canonical has released a smaller scale version of its Anbox Cloud mobile cloud computing platform -- which lets users run Android in system containers on AWS, OCI, Azure, GCP or private cloud/edge. The big idea: a streamlined "development playground" for those working on cloud-native mobile innovations: think game streaming, cloud-based mobile application management; mobile device virtualisation, mobile app testing.

Dubbed Anbox Cloud Appliance, it's GA on AWS Marketplace as of September 7 and is aimed at developers eying rapid prototyping in AWS of Android-in-the-Cloud mobile apps. Pricing is here for Arm and here for x86.

The launch comes as mobile-focussed game streaming continues to gain traction, with Netflix making a recent foray into the space, saying on August 26 "it’s very, very early days and we’ve got a lot of work to do in the months ahead, but this is the first step" at it made Netflix mobile gaming on Android available for mobile users in Poland.

What is Anbox Cloud Appliance?

The Appliance difference from Canonical's existing Anbox Cloud (first released in January 2020) by being limited to a single machine. As Canonical's Simon Fels puts it to The Stack: "The regular Anbox Cloud scales easily to 1000s of simultaneous Android instances where the appliance is meant just for initial development and prototyping and doesn't allow more Android instances than the machine it is running on can host.’

Users can deploy the Anbox Cloud Appliance on an x86 or Arm instance architecture, albeit taking into account that GPUs are currently available for x86 (NVIDIA GPUs will only become available for Arm instances later in 2021.) It features a simplified web UI to manage and operate Android applications in the cloud, along with a developer-friendly CLI. Devs can use it to upload their Android apps, configure and virtualise Android devices, and stream graphical output in real-time to any web or mobile client. Guidance on configuring an instance (e.g. if you want to put the instance onto a different VPC or subnet) is here.

See also: Should estimating the power consumption of AWS EC2 instances really be quite this hard?