Disclaimer: Since I do not own an Intel-based Android tablet, and my Chromebook does not yet have the Google Play Store, I tested CrossOver on the latest version of Remix OS on my Dell Windows laptop. It is possible that some of the bugs I experienced are issues with Remix, but CrossOver's compatibility with Windows programs is identical no matter how you run it. CrossOver for Android is in early beta, so everything in this review is subject to change with subsequent updates.
First impressionsCrossOver's entire user interface consists of the virtual desktop, where all the Windows programs live, and an 'Install Application' button. The installer functionality is where CrossOver shines on the desktop. With the WINE open-source project that CrossOver is based on, getting a program to run (even at all) can mean hunting down forum posts to see what LinuxFan78 typed in the command line.
CrossOver tries to alleviate this pain with their installers, which downloads a given program and performs all the necessary tweaks for the program to run automatically. For example, when I installed Steam through CrossOver, it downloaded multiple fonts that Steam requires before proceeding with the actual Steam installation.
The virtual desktop is fairly basic, showing some app shortcuts at the top and a Start menu with access to your programs at the bottom. There's also a very basic file manager, a setting to add/remove programs, and the Wine configuration tool.
GamesPerhaps the most exciting prospect of running Windows programs on Android (or a Chromebook) is playing Windows' vast library of games. That's a huge reason Wine even exists, despite the rise of Steam OS and Linux gaming, most new titles are still locked to Windows. Linux and Mac users have used Wine, CrossOver, and other similar software for years to play Windows-exclusive titles.
Another frustrating problem is games cannot lock the mouse inside the program. To my understanding, Android doesn't allow applications to lock the mouse at all, so FPS titles won't be playable without a controller. Games running in full-screen seem to be buggy as well, but most games have windowed modes anyways. Finally, there's no way to change the resolution of the virtual desktop, so older games expecting a smaller screen might have problems.
If your game can run either on software rendering or DirectX 9, and doesn't need to lock the mouse, there's a good chance it might run in CrossOver. Especially if you install it through CrossOver's install mechanism. As stated earlier, CodeWeavers has been working on DirectX 10 and 11 support on the desktop versions of CrossOver, so it wouldn't surprise me if those changes trickle down to the Android version at some point.
Other softwareYou'll need to use a web browser to install software not available in CrossOver itself. I used CrossOver's installer to download Firefox, seen below. I tried to run a recent release, version 45 to be exact, but it froze whenever I saved a file so I switched back to Firefox 7 (which is still usable for most sites).
Holy Photoshop, BatmanI was incredibly surprised to see my copy of Photoshop CS3, without changing any settings, worked in CrossOver. Well, mostly.
Android/Chromebook integrationCrossOver's integration with the host operating system, be it Android or Chrome OS, is rather limited but still more than I was expecting. The root Android file system shows up as a drive in CrossOver, allowing you to transfer data back and forth without too much trouble. For example, I could easily open pictures in Photoshop from the Android downloads folder.
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