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 been going on ever since. You can run Android apps on Windows, and soon the reverse will also be true!
What are CodeWeavers and Wine?
CodeWeavers is a company that creates a commercial 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, packaging them with a compatibility layer to make them work. .
Underlying all of this is the open-source Wine project, whose development CodeWeavers helps 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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Running 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 when it’s released. These fixes will also be released on the open-source Wine project, and other versions of Wine for Android should be available soon after.
There are, however, a few pitfalls. CrossOver and Wine for Android will only work on Android x86 systems, Android with Intel or AMD processors. Typical Android systems with ARM processors will not work. This is because all Windows binaries available in the wild are x86 or x64 applications. Windows RT 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. It’s the same reason 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 very well with a touchscreen and virtual keyboard because they’re designed for a keyboard and mouse. But there are Android laptops and even desktops. If nothing else, this 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 other Windows games to run on Linux and Mac OS X.