Coming soon: Run Windows apps on Android using Wine

We have already seen many applications that help users run Android apps on Windows. Now the tables are about to turn. Wine, the popular software, to run Windows apps and software on Linux is being ported to Google’s Android platform.

Alexandre Julliard, the developer behind the Wine software project that enables running of native Windows applications on Linux and other non-Microsoft platforms, did a brief showing of Wine on Android after a talk at FOSDEM, the conference for free open-source software development, in Brussels, Phoronix reports.

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With Wine, you can run Windows apps on Android

According to the report, the performance was horrendously slow. Julliard attributed these problems to running the Android environment emulated rather than showing off the software’s implementation from a bare metal device. CodeWeavers, who employ Julliard, develops cross-platform apps and found success with their Wine-based CrossOver commercial software for Linux and Apple OS X.

The website also says that CodeWeavers is hopeful for the success of Intel x86 Atom CPUs for tablets, which would allow faster development of Wine for Android. Android gaining traction on x86-based tablets would give the developers tremendous potential for commercially pushing the running of Windows software on Android.

A demonstration of Wine for Android (image credit: Phoronix)

A demonstration of Wine for Android (image credit: Phoronix)

On the other hand, running Android apps on Windows has become more and more accessible thanks to the launch of applications such as BlueStacks and WindowsAndroid, which give you access to the Play Store as well as help in development of apps. Currently, only the still-in-development Winulator allows users to run popular Windows games on Android. Wine could fill the huge gap in the market, but it’s still a long way from being fully ready.

While a stable version of Wine would allow end users and developers to run and develop some x86 Windows apps for ARM Android phones, it probably would make more sense to use the software for larger screen devices. On a 10-inch tablet, for example, you could hook up a keyboard dock and load full-fledged productivity software like MS Office or Photoshop. This would certainly mean a surge in popularity for Android tablets and could disrupt the market, which is currently dominated by the iPad, which is being positioned as a PC replacement. That is the market at which Wine is looking.

Wine’s developers will be looking closely at Intel, who are about to announce its next-generation mobile chipsets at Mobile World Congress. The chipset maker is expected to launch a new dual-core, dual-graphics platform that would put it on par with the competition. Julliard and fellow developers are banking on OEMs going with Intel for Android tablets, increasing the potential user base for Wine.

Of course, that still leaves ARM devices and an update for Wine on ARM devices is currently in the works.


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