For some time now, iOS users have cited the quality and quantity of third-party software available for the platform as an important factor in their choice of mobile devices. Over the years Android has amassed its own collection of apps and users have continued butting heads over which system had the better selection.
Now, six Columbia University students have bridged the gap between the two platforms with something called Cider (via The Next Web). Not to be confused with the other Cider software (for OS X), the Android version of Cider essentially fools iOS applications into believing they’re running on an actual iPhone or iPad.
The video below demonstrates the software in action on a Nexus 7. As you can see, iOS applications run side-by-side with Android software as if they were real, native Android apps. Unfortunately the performance seems to be pretty horrible at this point. Aside from the performance issues, there are a few other problems. iOS apps can’t access most hardware, such as the GPS and cellular connection. Apps that rely on these missing functions will have to work without them.
Of course, Cider is still very much a prototype, not a finished product. As the software matures, it’s possible that the limitations seen in the video can be overcome. The full paper on the project can be read on the Columbia University website, though it seems that at the time of this writing the website was down.