Windows RT X86 App Emulator Now Available at XDA

Windows RT tablets aren’t exactly selling like hotcakes, but most of the owners of the Surface RT and other RT devices that I’ve chatted with actually seem quite happy with the device. So what’s the disconnect here?

There are likely a few things. First, a misunderstanding of what Windows RT can and can’t do. Second, some users like the idea of using legacy apps, others have no need for traditional Windows apps or at least consider it a secondary thing at best.

That’s the biggest difference between an ATOM tablet and an ARM one – Windows x86 apps. For those that bought a Surface RT and other devices for the longer battery life and more moderate power consumption but wouldn’t mind unlocking more “power” out of the tablet, you’ll be pleased to know that the jailbreaking scene continues to heat up.

It’s fully possible to run other operating systems on Windows RT using emulation, it is even possible to use some full desktop apps in Windows RT as long as they have been recompiled for app.

Unfortunately, recompiling for ARM isn’t exactly an easy task and most of the apps that have undergone the conversion have been open-source utilities and older games. There is an alternative in works though – x86 app emulation.

A developer over at XDA has now released a jailbreaking tool that allows the use of full x86 apps on top of RT. Obviously that means that they aren’t running natively, and instead have to emulate an x86 processor. The end result isn’t exactly speedy.

This method isn’t going to let you get your “World of Warcraft” on, but it can certainly handle some older games and other utilities, outside of the ones that have already been fully converted to the ARM desktop.

So far the only apps that have been tested with the tool include things like Winrar, 7Zip and “Heroes of Might and Magic 3”. This is honestly more of a proof of concept than anything that will open the door to hardcore desktop apps on your Windows RT device, but it is just further proof that Windows RT is every bit as flexible and powerful as Windows 8.

Will Jailbreaking Renew Interest in Windows RT? In a word, no. It’s really a niche thing and probably won’t be as popular as jailbreaking is in the Apple world. The biggest reason is that the people who bought a Windows RT device did it (hopefully) fully knowing that all they could use was Windows Store apps that are optimized for touch, and they are fine with that.

Still, while I have a feeling that Windows RT will never become as popular as x86 Windows, it’s nice to know that under the hood, its pretty much the same beast as Windows 8.

What do you think of the jailbreaking scene for Windows RT? Does it interest you or not?

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