Archive for June, 2014

Will we soon be able to view iOS (Apple) apps on Android devices?

June 4th, 2014 by Hubert Yap

And another question… will Windows mobile devices soon be capable of running Android apps?

According to report by ABIresearch, Android and AOSP (Android Open Source Project, used by Amazon and Nokia) dominates the mobile market share by 44% and 13% respectively. iOS has around 10% and Windows at 3%, while the other 30% belongs to basic mobile phones that is, phones predominantly used just to make phone calls.

ABI Research Q1 2014 report

If you belong to the 57% Android and AOSP user group, you have probably found yourself wondering whether a certain iOS app will soon be available to Android. Six PhD students from Columbia University decided to do something about this issue, and have created a software solution called ‘Cider’.

Cider allows your Android device to run both iOS and Android apps natively. It is still a prototype and doesn’t yet support device features such as camera or Bluetooth. Therefore if your iOS app specifically required those features, Cider will not be able to run it in your Android device at the moment. The six PhD students: Jeremy Andrus, Alexander Van’t Hof, Naser AlDuaij, Christoffer Dall, Nicolas Viennot, and Jason Nieh, are continuing their R&D efforts and I look forward to Cider being made publicly available, and providing a lot more features, hopefully in the near future!

From an app development point of view, Cider has the potential to reduce app development cost. By allowing Android devices to run iOS apps natively, app developers may no longer need to build separate applications for iOS and Android.

It is already possible to reduce app development cost by utilizing a component called “web view” that exists in iOS, Android, and the Windows platform to run virtually the same web application across multiple platforms (see the most recently released Contact Point Client Area app). However, using the web view method means that your app is running a website within it, and therefore if you don’t have internet connectivity, your app will not function, nor will it have native components (buttons, sliders) that you usually see in each platform. Using the web view method also reduces the app performance.

Once Cider is able to perfectly run iOS apps natively on Android devices, Android users will have the option to choose between 1,157,769* apps in iOS App Store in addition to 1,469,630* apps available in Google Playstore. With rumours that Microsoft are considering bringing Android apps to the Windows platform, one day the mobile app development world might be heading towards a future where a single app will be able to run natively on the 3 different platforms.

* Data as at 16th May, 2014

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