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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

There are 44 comments


Wonder how long it will take for Apple to send them a cease and desist order...

Lawoodle says:

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.

eerongal says:

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

Dizfunctions says:

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

Posted via Android Central App

From your comment I understand that you are a judge and jury? No?

TenshiNo says:

Probably not. Neither am I. But I still share his sentiment.

mwara244 says:

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.

Lane Jasper1 says:


TenshiNo says:

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

mwara244 says:

Going to turn into Patent, copyright Armageddon, everyone will be suing everyone.

Zig261 says:

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.

Posted via Android Central App

mhmmdy123 says:

The point is, Apple not allowing anyone to advance in anyway.
That's the case.

mwara244 says:

While they sit there with their thumb up their arse

TechGuy21 says:

Cue the lawsuit from Apple...

DesertVelo says:

Unfortunate that true innovation meets litigation.

robstyle says:

Apple lawsuit incoming in 3...2...1...

mzanette says:

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 fuckin hate when people do that lol

pgmb says:

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

pgmb says:


I love that video.

Release these files!

Posted by a tuba playing,nexus 5 and 7 carrying future hacker.

mstrblueskys says:

Too bad WebOS didn't get this attention, right Derek?

tdizzel says:

"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

Theot says:

He he he

Posted via Android Central App

korn87 says:

Just in : Apple suing them for $2 billion

Posted via Android Central App

metle_geek says:

I see.... i can see apple freaking out lol this will be intresting

TenshiNo says:

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.

someguy01234 says:

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.
via android central app

s2weden2000 says:

As long it is not a commercial product...they got nothing to sAy...

... ( 0ppo F5) ...

abezzilla99 says:

I just want tweetbot on my android!!!

zhecht says:

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.

tdizzel says:

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

TenshiNo says:


Joel E says:

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.

assuming they don't run into legal troubles with Apple,
these kids will make millions

Was that an isheep reference at the end??

Posted via Android Central App

speculatrix says:

Yeah, I think so, just a quick bleat after the credits when most people would have hit stop.

D13H4RD2L1V3 says:

I'd try this.

tokuzumi says:

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.

outlooker says:

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.

Maggnus says:

Don't want no crappy iOS on an Android device.

Brad Steele says:

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

Posted via Android Central App