Canonical Anbox Cloud Appliance Simplifies Running Android Apps on AWS
Anbox Cloud is a solution from Canonical that lets you stream Android apps at scale to any device. The new Anbox Cloud Appliance makes a small-scale version of Anbox Cloud readily available on the AWS marketplace.
The Anbox Cloud Appliance provides a command-line interface and a simple Web UI to manage and operate Android applications in the Cloud.
Developers can upload their Android apps, configure and virtualise Android devices, and stream graphical output in real-time to any web or mobile client.
The Anbox Cloud Appliance supports a wide range of instance types, including Arm and NVIDIA GPUs enabling hardware-accelerated rendering supporting a low latency cloud streaming solution.
Among the application domains targeted by Anbox Cloud, Canonical includes game streaming, enterprise mobile application management, Android app testing at scale, and value-added services for mobile 5G customers.
InfoQ has taken the chance to speak with Simon Fels, Engineering Manager at Canonical and Anbox Cloud team lead.
InfoQ: What is the value of running Android in the Cloud?
Fels: Running Android in the cloud enables a variety of new use cases from app automation to cloud gaming.
Anbox Cloud stays agnostic and delivers a solution which works for all kinds of different use cases by providing the right tools and infrastructure to make Android run at scale and high density.
InfoQ: Could you provide some hints at how Anbox Cloud is implemented and how it differs from Google ChromeOS?
Fels: Anbox Cloud is based on all kinds of different solutions from Canonical, primarily the Ubuntu OS and Kernel. It uses LXD/LXC for all of it’s containerization and Juju to deploy the software on any private or public cloud.
Android itself is put into a secure and fully unprivileged LXC container. All hardware access is mediated by the Anbox runtime, which is specifically optimized to make Android run at high density.
Low latency video streaming is implemented with WebRTC and makes use of efficient hardware accelerated video encoding on modern GPUs. A remote client can provide all kinds of inputs back to the cloud Android instance, including touch, mouse, keyboard, location, sensor or camera data.
ChromeOS has two different implementations running Android, one container and another one VM based. The general difference to Anbox Cloud is that it entirely focuses only on consumer devices running Android locally, whereas Anbox Cloud moves the Android instances to the cloud and provides remote access.
InfoQ: What’s on the Anbox Cloud roadmap?
Fels: Generally we’re working very closely with our customers and implementing new features, while improving existing ones. The next two big items for the 1.12 release is Android 12 support and various improvements to our streaming stack.
You are able to publicly review the Anbox Cloud roadmap here.