BlackBerry users may soon have access to many more applications. A developer under the moniker businesscat2000 made a forum post on CrackBerry entitled iOS Apps running on BlackBerry. The post linked to a series of YouTube videos that showed iOS applications running in a sort of emulator on the BlackBerry PlayBook, which the developer likened to running Windows via WINE on a Linux computer.
“The CPU isn’t emulated on Playbook (though it is on Windows). It works very similarly to how WINE works to run Windows applications on Linux. The app binary is mapped into memory and imports are resolved to point to my own implementation of the various APIs needed. iOS actually uses a few open APIs already, which Playbook supports just as well (GL ES, and OpenAL). The bulk of the work has been in implementing all of the objective C classes that are required. The ARM code of the applications run as-is – the armv6/v7 support on PB/iDevices are pretty much identical, and the code is designed to run in USR mode. No SWIs, GPIO accesses or any of that kind of shenanigans.” – businesscat2000, CrackBerry Forums
While it’s obviously relatively simple to fake one of these videos, CrackBerry’s Kevin Michaluk verified that the emulator is the real deal, having the developer use SketchMobile to draw out a “Hi, CrackBerry” note on the screen, and then had him install the iPhone-only iMore application on the PlayBook.
The emulator is still in beta, and has significant amounts of work to be done before a final product is released to the public. Currently, the emulator works best with APIs under v4, used by several applications and games, though the emulator struggles with applications that need UIWebView, Maps, and CoreData. While still very much a work in progress, BlackBerry users have to be excited about the possibility of running iOS applications on their PlayBooks and BlackBerry smartphones. We’ll keep you updated as work on the emulator progresses.