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Android devices can soon run Windows software with Wine for Android

Wine for Android will soon let Android smartphone and tablet users run Windows software. Is this overkill for mobile devices, or a big challenge for Microsoft?

By J. Angelo Racoma

While mobile devices like the Microsoft Surface Pro offer mobile users the ability to run native Windows software, the platform does not enjoy the ubiquity that Android does. With Wine for Android promising support for both Intel and ARM powered devices, users may soon be able to run Windows applications on Android, just like Wine lets Linux users do the same.

At the FOSSDEM talk in Brussels this Sunday, Wine on Android was briefly demonstrated by Alexandre Julliard, the developer behind Wine, the software project that runs native Windows programs on Linux and other similar environments. The demo was cited to be slow, though, as it was run over an emulated Android environment and not an actual Android device, reports Michael Larabel at Phoronix. Still, the value here is the promise of being able to run Windows applications on mobile devices running both on Intel’s x86 platform and ARM-based processors, which power a good majority of mobile devices today (including Android and iOS devices).

With both iOS and Android popularizing the idea of apps versus traditional desktop-bound software, apps have become the tools of choice for consuming online content and doing various activities on mobile devices. As such, there is question whether running desktop software on mobile devices defeats the purpose of using a mobile device in the first place. It seems there is commercial opportunity in porting Windows apps to Android devices, though, and CodeWeavers — which employes Alexandre and which also contributes to the Wine project — agrees so.

Perhaps beyond running Windows games on a mobile platform, this can also include running productivity and office apps on tablets and even smartphones. Will this pose a challenge to Microsoft, which touts native Windows 8 apps as a selling factor for its upcoming Surface Pro tablet? Or does this mark a big opportunity for Android  device makers to market their products as compatible with Windows apps, too?

Featured image credits: The hacker news




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