CrossOver will soon run Windows apps on Android, Chrome OS

Yes, you read that right, but don't worry (or perhaps be worried), it isn't as straightforward or as magical as you might think. CodeWeavers, creators of the CrossOver software that lets users run some Windows software and games on Linux and macOS will be starting a tech preview of CrossOver for Android, which will do the same for Android devices and Chromebooks. Of course, there will be rather big limitations to this almost miraculous arrangement, from what devices you can run CrossOver on, to which Windows apps you can run.

CrossOver is a piece of software known as an "API compatibility layer" that basically translates Windows system calls into equivalent Linux or BSD (which macOS is based on) calls. CrossOver itself is based on an open source project called WINE (a "backronym" that means "WINE Is Not an Emulator") that has allowed otherwise inaccessible Windows software, like Microsoft Office or even some games, to run on those operating systems. It's not a perfect solution and it doesn't always work for all Windows programs, but both WINE and especially CrossOver have matured enough to be reliable for the most common and most popular software.

The big news here is that CodeWeavers has brought that same CrossOver software to Android, which, although based on Linux also, is a very different beast as far as software layers go. This, in turn, has even led to CrossOver for Android running on Chromebooks via the still in development Android app support on Chrome OS. OS-ception ensues!

There are some big "but's" in this upcoming technical preview, however. First and foremost, CrossOver for Android will only run on Intel-based devices. While many Chromebooks do qualify, there are only a few Android tablets, and even fewer Android smartphones, running on Intel's mobile chips. And even if you were to get one of ASUS' beefy Intel ZenFones, that doesn't mean it will be OK to run usually complicated Windows programs in such a cramped screen.

CrossOver for Android is still in a very limited tech preview, and for good reason. It helps set the expectations down to a more realistic level. You aren't suddenly going to be able to, say, run the latest Windows games on your Android tablet or Chromebook, though maybe someday that will be possible. CodeWeaver itself admits that CrossOver for Android isn't even yet at a mature stage. Plus, Android's limitations, both in software and hardware, will mean that some Windows applications might never really be supported. It's an interesting and good start, but still just a start nonetheless.

SOURCE: CodeWeavers