Alien Dalvik and similar technologies have the power to make all mobile devices equal and to make the Android app the only type of app you ever have to write.
Many Android users think that the only problem with Android is that it only runs on Android portable devices. More precisely they would like to run the same apps on their laptops and perhaps even desktop machines. While Android is a Linux-derived operating system customised by Google to run on mobile devices most of its apps are essentially Java applications. The main claim to fame for a Java application is that it can be run on almost any operating system - so why can't you run an Android app under Ubuntu or Windows even?
The answer is that Android apps run using a special version of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) called Dalvik. This JVM is optimised for mobile devices and it only runs under Android. But what if it ran under other operating systems? This would allow you to take an Android app and run it almost anywhere. This is the idea that has been taken up by Myriad which has announced Alien Dalvik.
At the moment Alien Dalvik only runs on MeeGo devices so it isn't going to make a big impact but the company has plans to make it run on other devices but they don't make clear what. They also claim that apps should run without modification and without any loss in speed - given the technology used both claims seem reasonable.
Although you may not have heard of the company it already has a replacement Dalvik JVM, called Dalvik Turbo, as a way to speed up Android applications applications.
The only problem with Alien Dalvik is that it is a full commercial application and hence moving Android apps to other devices isn't going to be free. However, Myriad seems to be working with phone manufacturers and hence it might be that they will pay the cost needed to bring the extra utility of running Android apps to their devices. Myriad says it will demonstrate Alien Dalvik, and hence Android apps, running on a Nokia N900, which is a Maemo-based device, for example.
It is clear that JVMs like Alien Dalvik have the potential to break down the barriers between mobile devices and even extend the reach of Android apps to the desktop. Whether or not it achieves this potential depends a lot on the business acumen of Myriad. Will we see Android apps running on the iPhone? It is technically possible - but then so are flying pigs.
It is difficult to judge the level of interest in universal apps, perhaps because Microsoft isn't being very clear about exactly what they are, but now almost anyone can create them. App Studio now su [ ... ]