I am planning a migration from Windows to a Debian-based distro. I want to run a certain app that is only available as a mobile app.

Is there any way to have applications control their own windows just like the Windows Subsystem for Android? If not, which emulator should I use, or is using a VM with Android x86 (I use a x64 processor) the best?

The software needs to be available on Debian and free as in gratis; bonus points if it's also open source.

  • 1
    @tckosvic I'm pretty sure you meant to comment here. Anyways, your assumption is incorrect. People build apps for mobile as it is the biggest user base, which means it could be their best chance at breaking out, or they see a very mobile usecase. I don't see why you think biggest user base means they do it the last; there are a lot of mobile-exclusive apps out there.
    – Aaron Liu
    Commented Apr 8, 2023 at 19:28
  • But why then would you be looking to run an exclusively mobile app on a linux machine. As a pinephone pro user, mobile uses of linux are not very well implimented.
    – tckosvic
    Commented Apr 10, 2023 at 18:59
  • Phone screens are quite a bit small (as they're supposed to be) and my current tablet is broken. The app in question in fact has keyboard shortcuts and is for learning words, so it's quite essential for everyday use. However this question can be generalized as the app is still a regular app.
    – Aaron Liu
    Commented Apr 11, 2023 at 2:49

2 Answers 2


From emulators, QEMU is one that matches your requirements the most. It's free, open source and works pretty much on all popular systems. Note that it's not really a tool for less experienced users though, setting up Android-x86 may not be easy, although there are tutorials.

  • Is user mode supported for Android x86?
    – Aaron Liu
    Commented Apr 9, 2023 at 14:16
  • Not that I'm aware of, I've used it mostly on Windows.
    – Destroy666
    Commented Apr 10, 2023 at 22:49

Many Android apps are also available as Chrome apps, meaning they can be run on Linux after installing the Chrome web browser.

Even if your favorite app is not released officially as a Chrome app, chances are you can use https://github.com/vladikoff/chromeos-apk and https://github.com/vladikoff/chromeos-apk/blob/master/archon.md or similar to make it run on the Chrome web browser.

Reference: https://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2014/09/install-android-apps-ubuntu-archon

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