Students get iOS apps running on an Android device

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

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Derek Kessler

Managing Editor of Mobile Nations, occasional web designer, Army musician, armchair pundit, news addict, all-around nerd, professional ranter, and user of many phones.

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Reader comments

Students get iOS apps running on an Android device


A good port of GNUStep would help with this effort. Since Cocoa is frakking OPENSTEP. They may already be doing just that, though.

At this point the GNUStep folks have pretty good code compatibility with Cocoa, and it will handle the core API crap. The touch layer is another story, but they seem to have dealt with that.

This is what I call "future". I would love to have the best from both worlds. One thing that i looked at is the fact that its running iOS6 like apps. That's strange. Anyways, I would love to have a hands on that!

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This doesn't particularly strike me as something mainstream people will do. Regardless, piracy on ios is already well underway in the jailbreak world. I'm guess at this point that's a bigger issue.

Lmao at their explanation. I felt like a 5 year old learning how to read

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Interestingly every app but two that i really need is already on Android. When considering buying an android phone i listed all the apps i use and want. Out of about 80 apps every one but two, tweetbot and downcast were already on android. And i'm honestly fine with the regular twitter app as i dont' use twitter much. Not having downcast would suck but i'm sure there are plenty of podcast apps on android.