Android could soon run Windows apps thanks to Wine for Android

CodeWeavers developer Alexandre Julliard, responsible for the Wine software project that allows Windows apps to run on other operating systems (including Apple’s Mac OS X and Linux), has demonstrated how Wine could be ported to Android.

During a FOSDEM talk in Brussels, covered by Phoronix, Julliard demonstrated a prototype version of Wine running on Android.

Wine consists of a series of APIs that allows Windows apps to run on computers using Intel x86 processors running Unix-based operating systems, including Mac OS X and Linux. In turn, Wine forms the basis of CodeWeavers’ commercial CrossOver package.

However, because Wine is not a full PC emulator, you are only able to run apps designed for a version of Windows using the same processor as your device.

The situation is complicated by the fact that most popular Android smartphones and tablets use ARM-based processors, such as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon series or NVidia’s Tegra processors, rather than an x86-based processor as built by Intel and AMD.

A version of Wine is currently being developed to allow apps developed for versions of Windows designed for devices with ARM processors, such as Windows RT, to work on smartphones and tablets based on ARM processors and different platforms.

Julliard also notes that the performance at this point was very slow, which was not helped by the fact that the copy of Android he was running was itself running on an Android emulator on an Apple Mac laptop.

Julliard says the performance would be better on an actual Android device than it is in an Android emulator, with work expected to continue on the project through 2013.


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