has anyone actually demonstrated this is feasible,
As mentionned above, Myriad's Alien-Dalvik has and is the official commercial solution powering the Jolla Phone in my pocket (and what I use with countless android apps).
I think I remember that this was also the official solution use by BlackBerry back when they offered Android Apps support on their (non-android) OS.
This was also a solution considered for HP/Palm's webOS... but the whole platform went belly up before commercial deployment.
SFDroid is another solution for SailfishOS, but opensource and thus used successfully by the community ports (e.g.: on Fairphone 2). I haven't tested this one.
Shashlik is yet another one, but I don't know how far they've reached.
WSL is what microsoft tried, but unlike the above, they weren't successful (and recycled it into the form that we now know of).
is it legally possible (would Google lock out such an OS)?
Technically possible :
- yes, I'm doing it, and countless of other sailfish OS users.
Legally possible :
- murky. In theory Google requires a commercial license between them and the phone constructor, in order to allow them to use the full commercial "Google Play" experience (as opposed to simply using the opensource android).
e.g.: As Jolla has never secured such a license (and the fact that it runs on a completely different OS might probably contradict the usual terms about the "google experience") the Alien-Dalvik installation on Jolla phones doesn't come with Google Play, but with Aptoid (and optionnally Yandex).
By default they activate a couple of repositories containing a few apps that have been curated and known to work good on the phones.
- Google has never done anything against end-user sideloading Googe Play Store into their phones (be it Cyanogen-modded, running Alien-Dalvik, etc.)
And you could understand clearly why :
- They DO have interest going against crappy no-name chinese clone-makers, because it might degrade the perception of their Google Play brand.
- They HAVE NO interest going against en users. On the contrary: As this is end-user installed, Google don't need to go at great length to insure support (I might have found 1 or 2 applications that don't work on my phone). And as it is an *apps store*, google can earn tons of users who are happy to install paid content on their phone (There's at least a couple of games that I've paid).
So google has very strong monetary incentives to let users keep installing Google Play Store on unlicensed platforms.