Students run iOS apps on Android with Cider

Both iOS and Android are great operating systems, but you would have to own two devices in order to have access to everything they have to offer. Students from the Columbia University have made great progress with their compatibility layer called Cider, which runs iOS apps on Android without an emulator or a virtual machine.

The software is still in its infancy, but it can run apps, albeit with slow performance. Cider simply tricks the app that it’s running on the appropriate OS, adapting to code on the fly and making it run with Android’s kernel and programming libraries. It’s a very smart piece of software, and one that will surely become better in the future. As it stands, it’s mostly a proof of concept, showing that Cider can become the cross-platform solution to people who want the best of two worlds in terms of mobile apps.

They have released a video showing the tech in action, where we can see some native iOS apps like the iTunes, Stacks, Weather, iBooks, and others demonstrated on a Nexus 7 tablet. As I said before, the performance is rather slow at the moment, but it can get better in time. At the moment of recording, the GPS was not functional with the iOS apps, but they actually made that work in the meantime, so progress is rather fast.

There have been similar developments in the past with Android apps running on Windows PCs via BlueStacks, and Blackberry offered support for Android Apps on the Blackberry PlayBook. Compatibility is never perfect and performance can’t be compared to running on the native software platform, but it’s good enough to be useful, and that’s what Cider can deliver.

Are you an Android user who whishes to run iOS software? Would you give Cider a go? Let us know!