Extra Credit: Columbia Students Make iOS Apps Run on Android

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Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

A deciding factor in whether to get an Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) or Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Android smartphone or tablet is often determined by the apps available on each platform. As such, some Columbia University Ph.D. students may have tilted the balance in Android’s favor with new emulator software.

These Columbia students have been working on a program called Cider, not to be confused with the iOS software of the same name. It is designed to trick iOS apps into running on Android operating systems. The software is a prototype, and it is not available for download or use by the general public. While this is not the first emulator to attempt to bridge the iOS-Android gap, one of its creators has posted a video to YouTube showing the potential of the prototype software.

The video shows the Cider software being run on a Nexus tablet, an Android device. The narrator opens several iOS apps during the course of the approximately six-minute video, including native apps like iBooks, iTunes, and the stocks application that come pre-downloaded on an Apple device by running them on an Android tablet. The video also includes a link to the creators’ paper on the software, which provides a detailed view into how they created the software. It seems to be some sort of research project for the five computer science students under the direction of Professor Jason Nieh, who is named as an author on the paper along with his graduate students.

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