If you are trying to decide whether to buy an Android or an iPhone then it could be a difficult choice to make. There are many apps and games that are made for iPhones but sadly, they do not work on Android devices. Now we hope things to change, as researchers have developed software called cider, which allows you to run iOS apps on an Android device.
Six researchers at Columbia University have developed this software, which is compatibility architecture for operating systems. In a video uploaded on YouTube by one of the researcher’s name Jeremy Andrus, a demo of Cider running on Nexus 7 has been shown on which iOS as well as Android apps have been installed and are running.
Generally, if any application made for any particular operating system is to be run on some other OS then the method known as virtualization is required. Virtualization is a feasible method for computers but it may slow down a mobile device as well as affect battery life.
How it works?
The researchers have tried to avoid virtualization and used another approach, which makes use of kernel of Android OS. In this method, binary compatibility is used like code adaptation at the time of compilation. This way Cider makes iOS code assume that XNU kernel of Apple is executing, while what actually executes is the Linux kernel of Android.
For this system to work diplomatic functions and code adaptation during compilation have important role to play.
- Code adaptation allows source code from a foreign OS that is unmodified to be used again within Android kernel. This helps in reduction of efforts required for implementing support for several binary interfaces that are needed for execution of foreign as well as domestic applications.
- Diplomatic functions manage personas on a per-thread basis and let domestic libraries be used by foreign applications for accessing hardware as well as software interfaces.
Still a long way to go
Cider is still far from being perfect and the apps, which work with Bluetooth, GPS or camera, provide limited functionality and sometimes do not work as well. However, the researchers are continuing their work to further enhance the software and fix the problems it has presently. They have developed the working demo but have clearly stated that there are no plans to commercialize the software as yet.
Cider is a major tech development, which will let Android phone owners run iOS apps on their phones. We may get new software in the near future that will work the other way round and allow Android apps to be run on iPhones.