Developers from the CodeWeavers studio released the CrossOver tool
, which brings together Chrome OS / Android and Windows operating systems. Now on computers, tablets and even smartphones with x86 processors running the OS from Google, you can run classic Windows applications. We tested this utility and made our small opinion about it in this article.Note:
CrossOver utility works on Android and Chrome OS devices that have x86-based processors - these are Intel or AMD chips. Therefore, on most devices with ARM chipsets, Windows applications cannot be launched. The author of the article tested CrossOver on an ASUS laptop with an AMD processor and the latest version of Remix OS.
What is CrossOver for Android
CodeWeavers developers are known for releasing CrossOver utilities for Linux and macOS to run Windows applications on these OSs. The CrossOver utility is based on an open source software called Wine. At its core, CrossOver and Wine is a virtualization tool that creates an emulated Windows environment for launching related applications.
Emulation is possible only on x86 processors. Chipsets with ARM architecture are not supported, because the code of Windows programs cannot be executed on them, and there is still no simple converter. Roughly speaking, CrossOver works only on computers with Chrome OS, as well as on tablets with Android, where Intel Atom acts as a processor, for example, ASUS ZenFone.
How to install CrossOver for Android
CrossOver is currently in beta testing on Google Play
. There you can sign up for a test program, or you can download the installation APK-file of the utility directly from Treshbox and install it on your gadget (threats identified by antiviruses are just an application feature related to emulation).
On chromobooks, installation is more complicated. You must first send Chrome OS to recovery mode, activate developer mode there, go to the Developer - Unstable channel in the browser itself, and then enable Android application support in the settings and download the corresponding program from the Play Store.
Installation and work with applications
Having launched the installed CrossOver application, we are presented with something like a virtual Windows desktop with its Start menu. On this desktop, all the icons of the installed Windows applications will appear. The program works better in full screen mode, but this only applies to Remix OS
and Chrome OS. The easiest way to install any program with Windows is to use the internal installer. The developers decided to simplify this process by adding their own installer. We click on the inscription “Install Application” in the upper right corner. A window will open with a text box, a drop-down list and the “Install” button.
Immediately CrossOver offers to install Steam - a catalog of games. You can simply click the “Install” button and installation will begin. The drop-down list offers other applications or games from Windows that work exactly on Android. If you uncheck “Only good-known applications”, then in the drop-down list there will be a huge number of games and applications from Windows that are installed with one click. But whether they will work is not guaranteed.
In the text box, you can search for applications or games by name. This is what Steam looks like after installing on Android:
Most games from Steam will not work because CrossOver only supports DirectX 9, but the developers of the utility promise to add support for versions 10 and 11. Some people, for example, were able to launch Half-Life and the classic Team Fortress, but for this they had to disable full-screen mode and activate software rendering instead of OpenGL:
Of course, playing in such an emulator is almost impossible due to low FPS and incorrect mouse operation. The controller is unlikely to work properly. But the fact that games are starting up already says something.
You can also install a browser from Windows for Internet surfing in such an emulator. For example, Firefox 45 installs and works without problems. Even extensions are functioning.
It is possible to install a full-fledged office suite. For example, OpenOffice, LibreOffice, or Microsoft Office 2007/2010.
Moreover, anyone can install Adobe Photoshop. Unfortunately, on my device, many applications and games threw errors, but the author of a similar article with Android Police managed to launch a “heavy” package of work with graphics from Adobe.
SummaryAt the current stage of development, CrossOver for Android and Chrome OS is a very unstable and largely uncomfortable utility that, although it can run many Windows applications, it still does this poorly. On tablets and smartphones, working with such emulation is almost impossible, but for laptops based on Chrome OS or Remix OS, this is a great opportunity to use applications from Windows.
CrossOver may become better in the future in terms of features and compatibility. Since Google itself is going to adapt Android for hybrid tablets and computers ( desktop mode Android 7.0
), we can say that CrossOver has a great future. The main thing is implementation. Let's hope that the developers from CodeWeavers will finish their utility to a good state.