Microsoft unveiled some huge news back in April, pledging to allow developers to run reworked Android and iOS apps on Windows. While Microsoft is pushing ahead with its iOS porting tools, the company's Android work has been put on hold. Sources familiar with Microsoft's plans have revealed to The Verge that the company has pulled back on dedicating employees to Android app porting, favoring the iOS route instead.
Windows Central reports that Microsoft's Project Astoria, the codename for its Android app porting, has developer forums that have fallen silent. Microsoft has also removed the Android subsystem, that enabled ported apps to run on Windows, from its final version of Windows 10 Mobile. Microsoft had been battling performance-related issues, security concerns, and a general wariness of app piracy, we're told.
Android apps on Windows was a quick fix
Microsoft's Android app support has always looked like a quick fix to the company's lack of Windows Phone apps. While the iOS option allows developers to create universal apps across tablets, PCs, and phones, Microsoft's Android implementation is less robust. It would have allowed developers to make very little changes to their Android apps and simply run them only on Windows-powered phones.
It's really no surprise that Microsoft's Android work has been put on hold. Back when Microsoft originally announced its plans at its Build developers conference in April, Windows chief Terry Myerson revealed to The Verge that the company had considered solely supporting iOS. "At times we've thought, let's just do iOS," explained Myerson at the time. The main reason to include Android support, Myerson argued, was to capture a bigger audience of developers in countries where iOS devices aren't available.
Microsoft isn't saying whether its Android tool has been fully killed off, but it's easy to read between the lines of the company's official comment. "The Astoria bridge is not ready yet," says a Microsoft spokesperson, noting that "other tools offer great options" for developers. The example given is for those other great tools is Microsoft's iOS bridge. Microsoft also says it's "committed to offering developers many options to bring their apps to the Windows Platform, including bridges available now for Web and iOS, and soon Win32." That's a big hint that Microsoft is only committed to the web, iOS, and win32. Here's Microsoft's official response in full:
Verge Video: Microsoft's plan for the future
"We're committed to offering developers many options to bring their apps to the Windows Platform, including bridges available now for Web and iOS, and soon Win32. The Astoria bridge is not ready yet, but other tools offer great options for developers. For example, the iOS bridge enables developers to write a native Windows Universal app which calls UWP APIs directly from Objective-C, and to mix and match UWP and iOS concepts such as XAML and UIKit. Developers can write apps that run on all Windows 10 devices and take advantage of native Windows features easily. We're grateful to the feedback from the development community and look forward to supporting them as they develop apps for Windows 10."