An emulator is a computer or program or software or application that emulates or imitates another computer or program or software or application. As an example, a Windows application can be run by using an emulator on a Linux operating system.
What Is an Emulator?
The emulator will behave like another platform in order to run software or hardware for this platform. Emulation also called an imitation. As an example, a lot of different printers are designed to emulate HP LaserJet printers because of its popularity and application written for it. Also, games are popularly run on the emulators in order to play on different platforms. For example, Atari games can be played on a PC which is very different then Atari hardware and software by using emulators which emulates the Atari hardware and software.
How Emulators Work?
As there are different types of emulators, they use different techniques but the general workflow is very similar. Emulators load the application or software or program to the emulator and provide the same or very similar execution environment of the target applications or software or program.
Emulation is an act of imitation which generally requires more resources than the original platform or hardware or software because the applications or software or program instructions are translated into the current platform. But in some cases, the performance of the emulator may be better than the original platform because of the current platform resources or performance.
Some times emulation and virtualization are used interchangeably because they are very similar even the same in some use cases. Virtualization provides a virtual environment for the software or operating system. Emulation is a part of virtualization and used when there is no hardware support for the target platform is emulated which is more costly for performance.
Using emulators can provide some advantages or benefits which can not be found on the original hardware or platform.
- Potentially better graphics performance and quality than original hardware or platform.
- Potentially additional features than original hardware or platform.
- Less cost then acquiring the original hardware or platform.
There are different types of emulators for different objectives. Some emulators are created for playing games for different platforms, some emulators are created to run the software for another operating system and platform.
Game Emulators is the hottest topic for emulation. There are a lot of different emulators created for different gaming platforms emulation.
Operating System Emulator is another popular emulator type where operating systems are emulated for different architectures or platforms. “Qemu” and “VMware Workstation” are popular operating system emulators that can provide a virtual environment for different hardware platforms like x86, x86_64, and ARM.
Application Emulator is used to run applications for different operating systems and platforms. “Wine” is a very popular application emulator that can run Windows applications on windows.
Why Use Emulators?
Emulators are popular for different cases and needs. Below we will list some of them.
- The hardware can not be afforded.
- The hardware is absolute.
- Some limited-time usage is required and cheap solution with the existing hardware is required.
- The emulator provides easy management of the hardware platform.
Emulation is a popular process where there is a lot of different type of emulators for different platforms. Below we will list some of the most popular emulators.
BlueStacks Emulator – Run Android Apps On Windows and Mac
Bluestacks Emulator is designed to run android applications on Windows and MAC. Bluestacks aims to run games with high performance. It can run multiple instances or games at the same time with real-time translation support. It also provides higher FPS and macro for repetitive tasks.
Xcode Emulator – Run iOS on Mac and Windows
XCode is provided by Apple in order to run iOS applications and games on Mac and Windows. XCode also used to develop applications for iOS-based devices.
Appetize.io (Web-Based Emulator) – Run iOS App On Any Platform
Appetize.io provides a very different experience as an iOS emulator. It can be run over the web browsers from different platforms like Windows, Linux, MacOSX even BSD.
Wine – Run Windows Apps On Linux (Ubuntu, Debian, CentOS, …)
Wine is very popular where Windows applications, executables, and MSI files can be easily run on Linux distributions.
Nestopia – Run Nintendo Games on Linux
Nestopia is an open source emulator in order to run Nintendo games on Linux distributions.
Qemu – Emulate ARM, x86 On Any Operating System
Qemu provides full system emulation for different hardware platforms like x86, x86_64, ARM, etc. It is popularly used for different operating system’s virtualization.