You know what the best way is to run Android apps on your phone? Buy a phone running the Google Android operating system. But pretty soon it might not be the only way. A company called Myriad has announced a new tool called Alien Dalvik which allows phone makers, operators, and others to offer Android applications for non-Android phones. The company will demonstrated the technology at Mobile World Congress next week.
If Dalvik sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the Java platform Google uses for Android. In fact, the Android OS is basically a Linux kernel and the Dalvik Java virtual machine. Apps actually run on Dalvik, which means that if you can get Dalvik running properly on another operating system there’s little to prevent you from running Android apps. That’s why there’s a rumor going around that the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet might be able to run Android apps — because all Research in Motion would have to do would be to choose Dalvik as the Java virtual machine for the operating system.
Anyway, back to Myriad’s Alien Dalvik, the platform is designed to let most Android apps run unmodified on other operating systems. All you have to do is repackage the Android APK installer files. That way software makers, app stores, and other folks looking to distribute apps could essentially provide the same apps for Android and other platforms with little to no extra coding.
From an end user standpoint, you’ll be able to install and run apps the same was as any other native app. You won’t really be able to tell the difference between say, a MeeGo app or an Android app once its installed — although the UI may or may not be designed to take advantage of the hardware buttons on your phone. That’s why you’ll see Home and Back software buttons at the bottom of the screen.
The first platform Myriad will support will be MeeGo, with a commercially available version of Alien Dalvik expected to launch for MeeGo later this year.
Fantastic! I hope it takes off. I would love to see a mobile world were a developer was given the option to design for iOS and/or Every Other OS. Granted, in the end it will matter little. Give it another 5 years and all “Apps” will be HTML5 webapps that work on anything with a browser.
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