Windows 10 “Astoria” Android emulation might be scrapped

JC Torres - Nov 15, 2015, 8:30pm CST
Windows 10 “Astoria” Android emulation might be scrapped

Although Windows doesn’t really have a dearth of software, considering the hundreds if not thousands of “win32” programs out there in the wild. But the particular family of “Modern”, now “Universal” apps is substantially smaller in number. Microsoft revealed a strategy that was both ambitious and almost suicidal as a stopgap measure to solve its app woes: allow apps from other platforms to run on Windows 10. Part of that strategy was called Project Astoria, the Android bridge, which is whispered to be in danger of being burned even before it can be fully built.

Astoria has been, in all honesty, divisive in nature. It did partly address the problem with a dearth of apps for Windows 10, especially the would be Windows 10 Mobile, and seemed to give into user demands for more familiar Android apps. But it also served to alienate and even offend developers who are or were at least interested in investing on the Universal Windows App platform. After all, if one can just run an Android APK on Windows 10 with no modification at all, why bother thinking about Windows at all?

To be fair, Astoria isn’t Microsoft’s only attempt to woo developers on other platforms. There is, for example, Islandwood for porting iOS apps to Windows 10, and Westminster and Centennial for web apps and classic win32 apps, respectively. But, at least for Islandwood, iOS developers would still need manually intervene to some extent, like actually recompiling the app for Windows 10. Astoria, on the other hand, could just take a vanilla Android APK package and install it. It was, after all, practically an Android emulator, and you’ve got a lot of those in the market today.

As such, it was bound to create problems more than it could probably fix. As mentioned, some Windows developers felt almost disenfranchised by Microsoft’s promise to Android developers at their expense. But for Android developers as well, it also made their apps susceptible to piracy, as there would never be an official, safe Google Play Store app for Windows 10 (though Microsoft could probably reuse their Nokia X marketplace). And while users might think they’re getting the better deal, they will not be running the Android app in its full capacity either given platform limitations.

According to insider sources, Microsoft is just as uncertain about Project Astoria as developers are. There have been very few if any discussions, both publicly and privately, with developers about Astoria, leaving many questions unanswered. Especially the biggest question of its future. Microsoft would, of course, say it remains committed to the path it set out for itself, but it wouldn’t be able to say otherwise anyway without looking like it was too quick to jump the gun.

VIA: Windows Central

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