‘Cider’ Brings iOS Apps to Android Devices [VIDEO]

Cider logo

According to a report by TheNextWeb, PhD students at Columbia University’s department of computer science have developed ‘Cider’, an OS compatibility architecture capable of running iOS apps on Android. The students succeeded in running domestic and foreign binaries on the same device, without having to use a virtual machine. Of course, the performance of apps is not what you get on an iOS device.

“They leverage binary compatibility techniques such as compile-time code adaptation and diplomatic functions. This means Cider can copy the libraries and frameworks it needs and convince an app’s code that it is running on Apple’s XNU kernel rather than Android’s Linux kernel.

The performance is less than stellar, but this is to be expected given the extra cost of diplomatic function calls and a currently incomplete OpenGL ES implementation. Nevertheless, using an OS compatibility layer for native execution of iOS apps on Android is an impressive feat.”

Cider basically enhances the Android OS of a device to mimic the application binary interface of a foreign operating system such as iOS, enabling it to run unmodi?ed foreign binaries. Most impressive of all, Android apps still function on the device even with the OS abstraction layer. The developers say they did not encounter any fundamental limitations regarding their approach that would result in compatibility problems between the two operating systems.

Here’s a proof-of-concept video showing a Nexus 7 (2012) with Cider running iOS apps Yelp and iBooks:

YouTube video

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