Microsoft abandons Windows Bridge for Android tool

The Microsoft tool that promised to bring Android apps to Windows devices, with little to no re-coding requiring, appears to have been shelved.

Project Astoria was announced earlier this year during the BUILD developer conference, before being renamed as Windows Bridge for Android back in August, and promised to bolster Windows’ app ecosystem.

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However, it seems that compatibility issues have proved too damaging and Microsoft is no longer developing the Windows Bridge software. Using the tool’s earlier name, the Redmond-based company told Re/Code that the “Astoria bridge is not ready yet,” but declined to add whether that meant it would be delayed or had been scrapped altogether.

According to reports, early uses of Windows Bridge for Android were only partially successful. Although many Android apps would load without any code alterations, any software that utilised Google Play Services often encountered glitches and other performance issues. It is likely that Microsoft is reticent to release a tool that cannot guarantee stable app performance, as it could damage the reputation of Windows as an app platform. Instead Microsoft has urged developers to use other tools, including Westminster and Islandwood in order to enrich the Windows ecosystem.

Although Windows Phone has more than 300,000 applications available, this still pales in comparison to both iOS (1.5 million) and Android (1.6 million). From a business perspective, many organisations prefer to use Windows smartphones because they are easily compatible with their desktop devices. However, having a reduced selection of apps available and the existence of ones that are less feature-rich than their Android or iOS counterparts is off-putting for many enterprises.

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Perhaps as Windows 10 matures, both as a desktop and mobile OS, the number of apps available will increase, particularly as iOS apps are likely to be easier to transition. However, in the meantime, it does not look like Android apps will be appearing on Microsoft’s new operating system anytime soon.