Android apps may not be coming to Windows 10 Mobile

In today's open source roundup: Microsoft's effort to bring Android apps to Windows 10 Mobile might have failed. Plus: Top challenges for desktop Linux. And a review of the HP Chromebook 11

Android apps may not be coming to Windows 10

The media was a abuzz a while back with chatter about Microsoft's decision to bring Android apps to Windows 10 Mobile. But now it looks like that may never happen as the effort seems to be dying a slow death.

Daniel Rubino reports for Windows Central:

Astoria is an Android emulator meaning devs do not have any real work to do. Instead, the phone ran the Android APK file directly. Early Insider builds of Windows 10 Mobile had this layer in the OS letting consumers sideload APK files directly. Not only did this project make app piracy easy, it undercut Windows developers who would have little reason to make native Windows apps anymore.

Windows Central is now hearing from multiple sources that Project Astoria is on hold indefinitely, and maybe even shelved completely. Although Microsoft is not publicly — even privately — stating Astoria is cancelled, they are not openly talking about it anymore, or even privately discussing it with developers.

The interpretation by others familiar with the matter is that Astoria is not happening anytime soon and Microsoft has yet to find a way to announce the news publicly. Indeed, while the news will be welcomed by Windows developers, it could come across as a failure by the company to execute on a publicly announced strategy.

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Windows Central readers reacted to the possibility that Android apps may never come to Windows 10 Mobile in a long thread with more than 600 responses:

BradleyJ: ”I don't think any Android or iOS developers are going to use MS tools. Windows phone is completely irrelevant. Our only hope was side-loading, and only Astoria offered that. Now there really is no hope for apps on W10 Mobile. Think about it: more apps are leaving Windows phone than coming. Anything that requires developer involvment is a non-starter.”

Dinchy87: ”As a Windows Dev working on Windows universal apps i think this is the right decision to do. It would have wasted to much time and money for what?! Only that 5% Android devs consider to make ports?! Will this change anything? No. Because the majority od android devs never considered to make Windows app ports via Astoria when they was asked about Astoria. Its only a negative step to the particular userbase of Windows 10 Mobile that wanted to use apk files on Windows 10 Mobile. But this is not gonna happen and im happy because i also dont want to see my apps without my consent on other platforms to be pirated.”

DJCBS: ”...YOU as a Windows Dev should NOT be thinking this is good. Because if developers don't port apps for Windows 10, the only person that will end up being affected is YOU. And you know why? Because Windows apps don't live on Windows PCs. Most Windows 10 PC users don't care about the Windows Store. Many don't even know it exists. And with Windows Phone dead, if these bridges keep burning, you'll be out of a platform to develop to in the near future. Because these UWAs are the last breath of artificial life Microsoft is breathing into WP. If they fail, Microsoft officially scratches the entire Windows apps project because the other platforms they have can use different tools instead of apps.”

Erzhik: ”5% is always better than 0%. And if 5% make top notch apps, which will gain interest and revenue on WP , who says the other 95% wouldn't change their minds? But if there is 0%, there is nothing to change any minds. I'd rather have 5%, than no WP at all.”

Ariez84: ”Piracy is in the DNA of Android apks....if it doesnt take much time to port over to Win10M, why not just port it over and see how well it does on Windows 10 platform? Devs are use to their apps being pirated since google makes it too easy to sideload them.”

ZvjerOPC: ”Cancelling project Astoria is great news for me. I'm a fan of my fast OS and I would hate it being drowned with Java VM.”

Pinecone1532: ”This is actually a really big blow personally. I was kind of relying on Project Astoria to provide me with the one or two apps I'm missing out on (most importantly Periscope, Snapchat and YikYak - whist I accept those aren't a big deal for everyone, the lack of snapchat is actually a massive problem for me and the loss of Yodel was a big hit too) and a better Tumblr client (I have to use two different apps for it since all the WP ones only meet some of my needs and misso out other important features). If that isn't happening, then I'm probably going to have to leave WP and jump over to Android. Don't geet me wrong I love Windows Phone (I've been on here since WP7, and my last five phones have been Windows) and I'm really not a fan of a lot of things about Android but personally WP just doesnt meet my needs any more.”

WPBlox1989: ”Snapchat, Periscope and Yik Yak are also available on iOS and can recompiled through Project Islandwood. For Snapchat, it's just their developers will never recompile it for Windows 10 because their CEO Evan Spiegel is a anti-Windows person, he even once controversially said that Windows Phone does not have a big marketshare showing his hate for Microsoft and the Windows ecosystem.”

RayWP7: ”I realize that the "app gap" is a huge issue for many many, emulating Android apps on Windows isn't the answer. The impact to Windows development is probably the single most important thing to consider - I think. Windows 10 Mobile needs to stand on its own merits, or not at all. I know many won't like that position, but it is how I feel. Otherwise, why not just use another platform? There are various obstacles to developers not writing native apps, but most of that is simply a choice based on user base. Consider Facebook and their native app! A billion(s) dollar company can't afford to do an app with feature parity of other platforms? No, it is a choice. You can't argue with their reasoning... but saying that emulating other platforms will bring more people which will then incentivise developers to code for Windows 10 is kind of an awkward and convoluted thinking.”

Tdb1: ”Could Microsoft's thinking go like this?: There is substantial overlap between Android and iOS apps. A ported iOS app will work better than an Android app in an emulator. If Astoria exists, developers may prefer the Astoria approach over Islandwood, resulting in a worse experience for Windows users. So kill Astoria for now, and push developers to port through Islandwood. Then after a while when most everyone willing to do an iOS port has done so, consider whether you still need Astoria to close the app gap further. Could that be the thinking?”

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