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Is it possible to run Android apps on Ubuntu? And I don't mean inside an emulator, but natively, as you would with any other application installed using the Ubuntu Software Center.

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4 Answers 4

The straight answer is no you can't. Although Android apps are developed in Java and thus should work, the environment is completely different:

  • Screen size is limited, the concept of a "Windowing System" does not exist in a mobile
  • Some of the hardware simply isn't there, SIM card, GPS, etc

There's an emulator that fools the apps by giving them those extra bits they need. But it uses the native OpenJDK on your machine so they will run well. Think of it like a test environment and not an emulator.

Anyway if you idea is running Layar in your laptop, forget it, it doesn't make any sense at all.

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Thanks for the answer. I was thinking more in terms of being able to run apps (like eReaders) that are not available for Ubuntu. –  mxhernaiz Aug 9 '10 at 13:39
I think you have FBReader in the repositories, maybe that will work for you. –  paulo.albuquerque Aug 9 '10 at 15:31
And, in case the other questions don't make sense, I'll just add, running a program in the emulator isn't worth the effort unless you're a developer. –  mlissner Aug 9 '10 at 16:39
FBReader is severly Unity impaired and the last time I checked it was Windows impaired too. :( I have a copy of it but I don't use it because every time you hit the enter key (searching the library for books) it maximizes and minimizes the window making you lose your place and a few other bad experiences. –  KI4JGT Aug 22 '12 at 2:03
...and native code is compiled against Bionic libc, which is vastly different from the GNU libc that Ubuntu ships with. –  Nathan Osman Jan 16 '14 at 5:12

The closest you'll get is through an emulator. This answer might not be for you (you might already know all this) but if other people drop into this thread, they might be interested in knowing.

You can run things through the Android emulator, part of the Android SDK (software development kit).

This provides a virtual device which does allow you to run quite a lot of Android applications though it may struggle with some of the more hardware-dependent things (3D, Phone calls, GPS, SMS, etc)

Here's a guide on getting it set up:

How to Run Android Applications on Ubuntu - Softpedia

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No, you can't (other than through an emulator as mentioned by Oli.) However, it looks like the Ubuntu people are working on this, so you might be able to do it in the future. My proof: http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2009/05/canonical-developers-aim-to-make-android-apps-run-on-ubuntu.ars

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Here is the launchpad entry for the project. I can't seem to find the code repository, and unfortunately it's marked "complete", "Low priority", "obsolete". blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+spec/… –  NoBugs Jun 1 '12 at 6:21


And have several options to do it.

  • Special emulator like those that come with Android SDK. Don't use ARM-based as they are sloooow.
  • Generic virtual machine like VirtualBox with Android x86 installed. My recommend.
  • Chrome. Recent versions of Google Chrome can run Android apps inside itself (never tried that, but people rate it high).
  • Connect android device by USB or Wi-Fi network, and use some sort of Remote Desktop.
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protected by Community Oct 9 '12 at 19:50

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