Android devices will soon be able to run Windows apps thanks to CodeWeavers’ CrossOver for Android, which will debut before the end of 2015.
Wine for Android was first introduced a few years ago and work has continued ever since. You can run Android apps on Windows, and soon the reverse will be true too!
What are CodeWeavers and Wine?
CodeWeavers is a company that creates a business compatibility layer, allowing Windows applications to run on Linux and Mac OS X. It also helps developers port Windows games and other applications to Mac and Linux, by packing them with a compatibility layer so that they work.
At the root of it all is the open source Wine project, development of which CodeWeavers is helping to fund. Wine is an open source compatibility layer that aims to reimplement the Windows API and allow Windows applications to run on non-Windows operating systems.
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Run Windows apps on Android
Android is about to join these apps. CodeWeavers has announced that a free technical preview of “CrossOver for Android” will be available before the end of the year, and you can sign up to be notified of its release. These fixes will also be released in the open source Wine project, and other versions of Wine for Android should be available shortly thereafter.
There are some pitfalls, however. CrossOver and Wine for Android will only work on Android x86 — Android systems with Intel or AMD processors. Typical Android systems, with ARM processors, will not work. This is because all Windows binaries in nature are x86 or x64 applications. Windows RT has never allowed desktop apps, so there are no desktop programs available for Windows on ARM. CrossOver or Wine should contain a virtual machine to allow Windows x86 applications to run on ARM chips. This is the same reason why you can’t install Wine and expect Windows apps to work when using Linux on an ARM-based Chromebook, by the way.
There are also other more obvious concerns. Most Windows apps won’t work that well with a touchscreen and virtual keyboard because they are designed for a keyboard and mouse. But there are Android laptops and even desktops. If nothing else, that could be a reason to choose an Intel-based Android tablet.
CodeWeavers is also still working on DirectX 11 support for Wine, which would allow many more Windows games to run on Linux and Mac OS X.