Microsoft’s Build 2015 developer conference started with some really boring details for all of us non-devs, but it has picked on with juicy details regarding some rumors we heard earlier during the week. Microsoft is indeed bringing Android and iOS apps to Windows 10, but it will need help from developers to do so.
Apple and Google are the absolute leaders when it comes to mobile apps, and no matter what Microsoft didn’t try, it was pretty hard to reach them in terms of number of supported apps. Thus, Microsoft’s plans to enable Android apps on Windows and Windows Phone have been known for quite a while. And now it seems that the company has finally come up with a plan that actually makes sense.
Microsoft hopes that it will convince both Android and iOS developers to rework their apps and have them available in its Windows 10 Store. To do so, the company is resorting to a different approach than just emulating apps. Microsoft will be adding a layer to its Windows 10 operating system that will allow the Android Open Source Project to run as a subsystem. Now, Android devs will have to do a little tweaking to their apps and have them rewritten in Java or C++ so that they can be submitted to the Windows Store in the form of APKs.
iOS developers will be able to use an Objective-C compiler, developed by Microsoft, which will allow them recompile their apps for these to work on Windows 10. The remade apps coming from iOS and Android will be ported into universal Windows Apps, which means you will be able to buy them only once and use across all your Windows mobile devices. Furthermore, the apps will be deeply integrated with Cortana as well as Xbox Live.
But if you were hoping that you will be able to play all these great new Android or iPhone games on your Windows laptop, then you should know that things are not like that. The ported iOS and Android apps won’t support mice and keyboards, so you won’t be able to use them on your Windows 10 PC or desktop, but I wonder what will happen to hybrids.
Microsoft says Android developers will be able to start submitting apps to the Windows 10 Store in the next few months, but iOS devs can already download and play around with the Objective-C compiler.
The real impact here is going to be on Windows Phone, and if Microsoft will instruct well its retail partners, then a good support person will know how to explain to a potential buyer that he can now run Android and even iPhone apps, as well. And I don’t think developers will mind to get new customers with a little extra work.