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

On January the 18th it was released a new stable release of Wine, 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 (remember that a virtual machine is like a full operating system inside another) translates Windows API calls to Android API calls on-the-fly, reducing the performance and memory penalties of other methods.

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As many of you might know, Wine is just a compatibility layer, but capable of running the most of Windows applications in a decent way: take into consideration that some functionality may be limited, due to the lack of keyboard and mouse.

It also capable of running this kind of applications on several POSIX-compliant operating systems, such as 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 it was never fully released and remained in an alpha testing stage.

Anyway, Wine 3.0 is available now and can be installed via an APK file which can be downloaded 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 installed, 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 there’s not support for Direct3D, but only basic audio and video is supported, 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, an extra emulator will be needed: QEMU.

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

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