Hmm, that's interesting given Oracle's current (ridiculous) sueball thrown over API copyright.
Windows will run Android binaries "unchanged", according to a Microsoft job posting. "Project Astoria" is one of several ambitious ventures announced at Microsoft's annual developer conference Build 2015, intended to lure iOS, Android, and web developers to Windows 10. All were intended to make porting to Windows easy. New …
Monday 27th July 2015 17:44 GMT Recaf
It's OS/2 all over again
OS/2 2.0 had "better Windows than Windows" so no one bothered creating any native applications.
Now Windows will have "not quite as good Android as Android" and the seven remaining Windows Phone developers will no doubt be deciding if they'd prefer Java or Objective-C.
Monday 27th July 2015 18:52 GMT DracheMitch
Re: It's OS/2 all over again
It isn't the same as OS/2. First, you have to convert your app to APPX, that is indeed a simple process. Once you do that, you get access to creating a live tile for your app, and access to other Windows 10 APIs, which many developers showed interest in using at Build (watch the Project Astoria video at channel9.msdn.com). Second, all services are mapped to Microsoft services, including those in GMS, such as the Share Intent being mapped to the native Share Contract, Google Maps being replaced with Bing Maps, and Segoe UI being used instead of Roboto font. Users will have no idea how the app was developed, it will look like a Windows app, and why would they care? Do iOS or Android users voice concern over an app being ported from one platform to the other? Do they demand native games instead of games utilising Unity middleware?
The apps get compiled to APPX, you can't just sideload an APK, they aren't running in a virtual machine like on Android, so those same applications will indeed run faster on Windows Phone than on Android. But the situation is very different from Blackberry, who relies entirely on Amazon's App Store (which does not have a complete GMS drop-in; WIndows 10 mobile does).
Tuesday 28th July 2015 21:58 GMT billdehaan
Re: It's OS/2 all over again
Speaking as a fan of both OS/2 and Windows Phone....
Yeah, pretty much.
OS/2 had lots of technical advantages over Windows; you could do things with it that could not be done in Windows. DSOM, the WPS, and the back end database features of the Extended Edition provided enormous potential ... that was never, ever, realized. And as developer, dealing with IBM was simply too difficult, and expensive, for to justify; especially since the OS/2 user base was paltry compared to the Windows user base. The fact that OS/2 users were notoriously miserly with respect to paying for applications didn't help, either. Microsoft offered free development tools to let you build apps for a market of something like 15 million at the time, while IBM wanted $500 for tools to build apps for a market of about a quarter million. Yeah, no shock developers stuck with the Windows API.
On the one hand, it's no more expensive to develop for WinPhone than it is for Android/IOS. On the other hand, unlike OS/2, it's not like WinPhone can do a lot of things that Android can't. It may use less resources than Android, but feature-wise, there's not much I can see in my Windows phone I don't see in my Android.
There's one other big issue in this equation: Microsoft is marketing their Windows phones almost exclusively at the segment of users who don't buy applications. I like my Lumia 520, but I've only ever bought a single $10 application for it (from a $25 gift card, which still has $15 credit on it), and I'm afraid that's typical of the user base. Most Windows phones are entry level cheap phones, while lots of Android phones are $500 and up. People who balk at spending more than $99 on a handset aren't likely to spend lots of money on applications.
And for those of us who've lived under emulations before, remember what happens when a problem occurs? Nothing. I still remember when Quicken for Windows came out, and crashed on OS/2. Users screamed at IBM, who washed their hands of it, saying it was a Windows problem. Microsoft pointed out that people had bought a Quicken product to run on an IBM operating system, and it had nothing to do with them. And for their part, Quicken said right on the box that their application was written for Windows, so if you were running it on an emulator, you were on your own.
As much as I like the technical underpinnings of Windows Phone, I can't really see it changing from the niche position it currently has.
Monday 27th July 2015 18:52 GMT Paul Crawford
"Android developers are being lured ever closer to GMS, with Lollipop adding 5,000 new API calls"
Bummer that. Sadly I don't feel much sympathy for MS getting burnt in that area considering how they pushed Windows devs in to using calls that are only on Windows, etc, instead of POSIX and anything portable.
I wish I could, as Google doing the same does not make it OK or in the customer's interests. And I mean the phone's owner, not those to whom they are being whored for advertising reasons.
Monday 27th July 2015 21:27 GMT Anonymous Coward
Sooo...Microsoft has been fighting security problems for decades in the EXE, COM, SCR, etc file types that they themselves created (well, more or less). And now it's a good idea for them to natively run an new type of executable file format they didn't create? Yeah, no, that doesn't seem right.
Monday 27th July 2015 21:27 GMT Charles Manning
The end of native Winphone apps?
Microsoft have dicked the developers, particularly phone developers, for ages.
The WinCE APIs kept changing.
Then please stop using C++ and rewrite everything in Mobile .NET.
Then please use Mobile Silverlight... except now we want to kill that.
So finally developers are finding a reasonably stable Windows Mobile API they can use: Android. Cool. And when MS decides thay're tired with Windows Phones again you have your exit strategy all worked out.
Tuesday 28th July 2015 13:17 GMT Phil_Evans
And they are...?
"...developers would have no incentive to develop functionality for Microsoft services such as Cortana or One Drive"
Well, there hasn't been any danger of exactly that happening anyway, without this news.
If MSFT are playing footsie in a hope of widening appeal to 'droid devs and users, then that's just a tease, coz we all know that Windows phone is shite anyway. If it's actually early foreplay before submitting to the whiles of an Android-only app-i-verse then maybe there's 'potential' (as Julia Roberts once intimated to Richard Gere).
Maybe it's just an affair and we can all ignore it.