We've already seen applications that let you run Android apps on Windows. But now it looks like the opposite is possible too thanks to an ARM-friendly version of Wine, the popular 'compatibility layer' used to run Windows software on Unix-like operating systems such as Linux, Mac OSX and BSD.

Alexandre Julliard, the developer behind Wine, showed off an early build at the 2013 Free and Open source Software Developers' European Meeting (FOSDEM) in Brussels. The demo ran very, very slow. Linux centric website Phoronix said performance was "horrendously slow," but noted this was at least partly because Julliard was using an emulated version of Android on a laptop rather than an actual Android phone or tablet.

From the looks of things it could be a while before the project sees the light of day – if it is released at all. This Wine port for Android is an active work-in-progress but apparently it hasn't received much attention yet.

Running Windows applications on an Android smartphone will have little to no practical use for most people, but it might make more sense for tablets. CodeWeavers, Julliard's employer and developer of Wine-based CrossOver believes so, and though the prospect of Wine on ARM is appealing they're also hopeful for the success of x86 chips on Android tablets to raise developer interest in running Windows apps on the platform.

The name Wine initially was an acronym for WINdows Emulator but later changed it's significance to "Wine is not an emulator" to better illustrate how the software works. That is, duplicating functions of Windows by providing alternative implementations of the DLLs that Windows programs call, rather than virtualizing the hardware in which the operating system runs. In practical terms this means you don't need a virtual machine running Windows itself and thus a Windows license in order to run applications using Wine.