Earlier this week, a mysterious Chinese company released an early preview of their ambitious project: WindowsAndroid. Socketeq, the Chinese company, claims they’ve ported Android OS to run natively on Windows. Immediately after the news went viral, their website went offline for several days due to traffic overload.
Socketeq’s website is now back online, but instructs visitors to search the web if they want to download the preview program. Luckily, I managed to download a copy and have been testing it out. Initial impression and video after the break.
WindowsAndroid isn’t the first solution to allow Android apps to run on Windows. Bluestacks has been around since 2009 and is available for both Windows and OSX. However, Bluestacks does the trick through emulation and it’s quite slow. WindowsAndroid, on the other hand, runs the entire Android operating system through Windows’ underlying kernel. This means it will be able to run android apps faster by using system resources directly.
After playing around with WindowsAndroid for the last couple of days, I find it to be quite impressive. It does in face feel like Android OS is running natively. There are a massive amount of .exe processes running whenever WindowsAndroid is opened, but presumably, each of these processes represent the ones in Android and its running apps. When an app process crashes, the operating system is still intact and functional.
There are only a handful of apps in the port, and what’s there seems to work fine most of the time. The Browser app performs quite well but renders some sites incorrectly. Sadly, side loaded apps doesn’t seem to work yet, at least the method I tried. There is no official method to side load apps like you would on an actual Android device, which I think is necessary for side loaded apps to run correctly.
As awesome as it is, however, WindowsAndroid is not 100% sail through. It’s still very early in the development stage. The program itself crashed during the first few start ups, and apps inside Android randomly crash at times. Sound also doesn’t work as demonstrated in the video below. What’s ahead, however, is looking very promising if Socketeq continues their work.
Check the video below for an an overview impression (it seems more laggy than in reality due to my screen recorder’s low frame rate):