Watch Columbia University's Cider project run iOS apps on Android

Columbia University has created something that's great for Android device owners but a nightmare for Apple.

Most iPhone and iPad apps are available for Android devices. But there are a few stragglers whose bias developers have yet to launch an Android port. And don't forget those Apple-exclusive iOS apps that will never come to Android. For those of you who want to run FaceTime or play an iPhone-only game on your Android, you might one day have that opportunity, thanks to a new research project from Columbia University’s Software Systems Laboratory.

Columbia researchers have unveiled a new “operating system compatibility architecture” called Cider. The project lets you run any native iOS app on any Android device. It works without altering code or optimising - and the interface layer is much more complex than a basic emulator. In simplest terms, it relies upon compile-time code adaptation to convert the unfamiliar code of an iOS app into a language that Android’s kernel can interpret.

The result? Android's kernel will run an iOS app natively. It will also perform functions that allow an app of another operating system - like iOS - to interface with the native software and hardware components of an Android device. If you'd like to see an example of Cider, watch the video above. It's clearly not an ideal solution for consumers yet (as evident by the severe lagging), but it is still a great showcase of how to swiftly run an iOS app on Android.

Much work is still needed before Cider or any similar architecture could ever launch for public use. And if that day should ever come around, it would be more than interesting to see how Apple responds. Google probably wouldn't mind, since it's all open and everything, but Apple is a stickler with its exclusive apps and software and closed ecosystem.



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