The Android emulation scene has had a rough year. With Switch emulation on the back-burner and Vita emulation making steady but slow progress, the last truly exciting frontier is Windows emulation – but that, too, has taken a blow.

Last night, the head developer behind upcoming Windows emulator Cassia announced that the team would be ceasing development. Unlike their previous project, Skyline, there are no legal threats this time around – the devs cite growing work and school workloads as the primary reason behind the shelving of the project.

A screenshot from the Cassia Discord server. The head developer, Mark, announces the cancellation of the Cassia project.

Fortunately, the team have published all their work on GitHub as open-source code – so there’s always the chance of another team picking up the torch later on. But for now, the best option available to those who wish to run x86 games on their Android devices seems to be Winlator.

Winlator is somewhat infamously annoying to set up properly – which is why so many Android users were banking on Cassia’s now-doomed release. Skyline was dead simple to set up, and many emulation enthusiasts were hoping for a similarly easy experience with Cassia, especially as one of their listed priorities was full compatibility with Steam and other game launchers.

Screenshots from the Cassia Discord server, showing Steam and the Rockstar launcher in a semi-working state.

The final development update, showing Steam and Rockstar in in their first stages of compatbility.

So what does this mean for the future of Android as a handheld platform? We know Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon X Elite and Plus chips support x86-to-ARM translation, but that’s only on Windows 11 – there’s nothing to indicate that any of this tech will make its way to Qualcomm’s Android offerings.
As for native Android apps, well, the ecosystem isn’t as alive as you would hope. It’s a graveyard of dead and stagnant apps, buried both by corporations aggressively policing their IP, and by their own creators. It’s a shame to see Cassia become their newest neighbour.

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