Wine 3.0, it’ll bring Windows Apps to your Android device

On January the 18th, the maker of Wine released a new stable version of it, the 3.0. The original meaning of the recursive acronym is “Wine Is Not an Emulator”.

So Wine, instead of emulating internal Windows logic like a virtual machine or emulator such as VirtualBox do, does the opposite. Rremember that a virtual machine is like a full operating system inside another.

Wine translates Windows API calls to Android API calls on-the-fly. Reducing the performance and memory penalties of other methods.

As many of you might know, Wine is just a compatibility layer. Nevertheless it’s capable of running the most of Windows applications in a decent way.

Take into consideration that some functionality may be limited. This is due to the lack of keyboard and mouse.

It also capable of running this kind of applications on several POSIX-compliant operating systems. Linux, macOS, and BSD, hence Android also, since it is based on Linux.

The company behind Wine, Codeweavers realesed a version of this piece of software named Crossover, in 2016, but they never fully released and they kept it in an alpha testing stage.

Anyway, Wine 3.0 is available now and you can install it via an APK file which you can download from the Wine HQ website.

How to install it, and some technical details

As you can imagine the APK must be installed as an unknown source rather than getting it from the Google Play Store. In order to do that, you have to access your device’s security settings and and tap the switch marked as ‘Allow installation of apps from sources other than the Google Play Store’.

Once you install Wine, tap on the Wine icon and a full-screen Windows display, including the start menu, will be shown.

At the moment, for those of you who enjoy videogames, Wine doeas not support Direct3D. It supports only basic audio and video. That kind of feature will be available later this year.

Furthermore, the maximum performance will be available on Intel x86 processors. For devices with ARM processors, the majority on the market, you will need QEMU, an extra emulator.

For some extra technical details see these pdf slides about it, presented at FOSDEM 2014.

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