Ever fancied running Windows software on an Android device? If Wine creator Alexandre Julliard has his way, that might soon be possible. During a talk this weekend in Brussels, Julliard demoed a version of the compatibility layer operating inside Android. The guys at Phoronix were on the scene:
After working through some initial issues in his demo, Julliard quietly showed off Wine running on Android. However, the performance was horrendously slow. The performance problems though were attributed to running the Android environment emulated rather than showing off the Wine implementation from a bare metal device.
(For non-Linux-geeks out there, Wine is a compatibility layer that allows Windows applications to run inside Linux. Android has Linux underpinnings, so it's not hard to imagine how this might all work.)
I'm not surprised the demo was sluggish. I've been using Google's Android emulator for a little web development project (more on that soon), and it is indeed painfully slow, even on my quad-core desktop PC. I can't imagine doing something as intensive as running a Windows app over a custom compatibility layer in that environment.
Hopefully, Wine will run better natively on real Android hardware. Not all devices may support it to begin with, however. Phoronix says an ARM version of Wine "is coming," but CodeWeavers, Julliard's employer, is reportedly "quite interested and hopeful for the success of Intel x86 Atom CPUs for tablets." I get the sense that initial development is focused on x86 hardware, which is still relatively rare in the Android world.