Students get iOS apps running on an Android device

A group of Columbia University students have demonstrated a proof-of-concept implementation of iOS apps running on an Android device. The compatibility layer, dubbed "Cider" (get it? Apple? Cider?) isn't an emulator or virtual machine as you might expect — no, it's a compatibility layer designed to allow natively-coded Objective C apps to run on Android. In this case, they're demoing it on a last-generation Nexus 7.

This is very much a proof-of-concept at this time. The iOS apps like Yelp and Apple Remote open and function, but they're all absurdly slow and exhibit substantial lag.

How does Cider do this? We'll let Columbia explain it for you:

Cider enhances the domestic operating system, Android, of a device with kernel-managed, per-thread personas to mimic the application binary interface of a foreign operating system, iOS, enabling it to run unmodified foreign binaries. This is accomplished using a novel combination of binary compatibility techniques including two new mechanisms: compile-time code adaptation, and diplomatic functions. Compile-time code adaptation enables existing unmodified foreign source code to be reused in the domestic kernel, reducing implementation effort required to support multiple binary interfaces for executing domestic and foreign applications. Diplomatic functions leverage per-thread personas, and allow foreign applications to use domestic libraries to access proprietary software and hardware interfaces.

Riiiight. In case you didn't track what that means (we'll admit, it's a lot over our heads too), here's a video showing off Cider in action on that Nexus 7:

Source: Columbia University; Via: 9to5Mac


Reader comments

Students get iOS apps running on an Android device


As long as they're using no copyrighted code, they're fine.

A good example of another compatibility layer is Wine, and that's had little legal trouble.

Actually, based on the recent oracle - google ruling, it could potentially affect the legality of this. As well as WINE.

Oracle should go fuck itself. They're just trying to make some money off of Android's success.

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Same Here.

Instead of Judges with Law backgrounds, we are going to need Judges with Tech Backgrounds, because I doubt these judges can understand the full technological ideas and codes behind these issues. Copyrights and patents are going to have to become more tedious in their descriptions than the blatant broad stroke of ideas that are going on now with technology and software.

Based on the recent Orcacle/Google ruling, just about any software developer on the planet who's ever written a library is in trouble.

This has potential if they can learn how to smooth the porting process to ease iOS developers into creating Android versions.

I can see Google recruiting these students upon graduation. Or at least an internship.

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These guys are smart enough to get this working, yet don't realize they should turn the phone sideways to properly record a video

i sooooo hate it when people do that. have people never seen a movie before?! its not recorded friggin vertically its HORIZONTAL!!!!

"they're all absurdly slow and exhibit substantial lag"

So this is touchwiz?

I kid. I kid.

Posted from the Avengers: Age of Droid Ultra

What was really interesting was some of the comments I saw when (I think) 9to5Mac ran an article about this yesterday. Several of the iPhone fans nearly went supernova at the idea that their precious iOS apps could be run on Android. Talk about pompous, elitist mentality. Jeez.

Apple will not let this go, I can guarantee that. Their case with Psystar in the past should tell you something, it's not just with large corporation like Samsung.
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Just what we need, another framework to port simple iOS apps into poorly optimized non-native code android versions that break UI standards and kill your battery faster than the most advanced 3D games. I'm sick enough of simple text or 2D-graphics based apps that can drain my 2600mAh battery in 90 minutes.

And it absolutely sucks that you have no option other than to download it once it's available. I can you understand you being upset that you will be forced to do that.

Posted from the Avengers: Age of Droid Ultra

Holy crap, that explanation. ..
My brain processed it as the same sentence over and over and over again.

Posted from my caseless GS5. Because I believe in myself.

This is a neat concept, and I applaud the developers who put this together, but at this stage, almost all apps in iOS will have an Android counterpart. I just hope this isn't as convoluted as the process for running Android apps on the new Blackberry OS, where you have to recompile the app, and change the file suffix, etc, etc.

The new BlackBerry 10.2.1 allows you to install Android APKs directly like you could do on an android. The days of having to recompile Android apps to run them on BlackBerry phones ended months ago.

Pretty good coding skills. Also, they have the "home" figures and papa smurf guarding the nexus at the bottom of the article.

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