Android Apps on ... Ubuntu? - InformationWeek

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5/27/2009
11:38 AM
Serdar Yegulalp
Serdar Yegulalp
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Android Apps on ... Ubuntu?

Here's a curious open source crossover for you: a Canonical programmer who's authored an emulation system to allow Android mobile apps to run on Ubuntu. I guess it really all is about the programs (stupid).

Here's a curious open source crossover for you: a Canonical programmer who's authored an emulation system to allow Android mobile apps to run on Ubuntu. I guess it really all is about the programs (stupid).

Android's a maverick platform in several ways: it's based on the Linux kernel, but runs a custom Java engine and sports enough other differences that running Android apps anywhere but on Android is problematic. Thing is, we're seeing the kind of interest in developing apps for Android that's strongly reminiscent of app development for that other big mobile platform that begins with an A and ends with pple.

So why not take advantage of that growing repository of netbook application goodies, especially if Ubuntu's being built to run on the same hardware? That's the logic I see behind this -- make use of an existing platform base that already has great growth potential, instead of simply re-using what already exists and doesn't quite have the same cachet of new-and-exciting about it.

If this takes off, it'll confirm something I've been suspecting for a long time now: the success of a given software platform is directly proportional to how easy it is to write and deploy software for it. Android's a Google product with its own custom internal design and app development rules, and so the porting process is far from trivial (it involves, among other things, custom kernel drivers and a specifically-written Java engine). But if Canonical can make it work, that throws open the door for using Android apps not only on Ubuntu but, theoretically, most every other consumer computing platform.

That sounds like a solid win for Google, most of all. For Ubuntu, certainly, but in the end, it's Google that gets the most out of it since it means that many more places for their app ecosystem to appear.


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