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Microsoft Puts Hold on Android App Porting on Windows Phone

According to inside sources, Microsoft's "Project Astoria," which looked to ease porting of Android-based apps to Windows 10 Mobile through emulation, has been put on hold indefinitely.

First announced at this year's Build conference, Project Astoria was part of the company's "Bridges" strategy to easily port Android apps -- a strategy that also included projects to port iOS, Win32/.NET and Web apps to its latest mobile offering. While the other porting tools, including those that ease iOS app portability, are still in some stage of development, the Android bridge has completely disappeared.

Windows Central on Friday reported that multiple inside sources have confirmed that the project has been put on hold and that "the Android app porting is not going as planned."

While Microsoft has not confirmed that the project has been scrapped, it did say that it won't be available any time soon. "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," said a Microsoft spokesperson in a released statement. "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."

Microsoft declined to comment on how far in development Project Astoria had gotten and what the possible roadblocks might have been. Back in April during the Build conference, the company showed how the Android app Lose It! could be ported to the Windows 10 Mobile platform to connect to Microsoft Azure and use the Windows Share features. The company also made the Project Astoria bridge available to select testers in August.

Redmond columnist and Microsoft reporter Mary Jo Foley said that the project might have been scrapped due to the unauthorized emulation of certain Android apps by testers. "I heard from one of my contacts that Microsoft pulled the emulation layer from Windows 10 Mobile builds around October, after some individuals had used the technology to run Android apps on Windows 10 Mobile without the OK of the individuals and companies that developed those apps," wrote Foley in a column on ZDNet.

So far, it doesn't appear that any of the other three porting bridges have been scrapped. "Project Westminster," which allows for Web sites to be ported as Windows 10 Mobile apps, has already been released to developers, while the iOS bridge, "Project Islandwood," has been opened sourced. And the final bridge, "Project Centennial," which brings Win32 apps to the mobile platform, is scheduled for testing in 2016.  

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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