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Today, at the Build 2015 conference, Microsoft announced a new feature in Windows 10 phones – the ability to run Android apps without any recompiling whatsoever! They also introduced an Objective C compiler in Visual Studio, so iOS apps can easily be converted to the Windows 10 platform.
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Hi, it’s HandyAndy Tech Tips here. So Windows 10 will soon be released, and, while Microsoft’s OS has always dominated the traditional PC market, it’s been less successful in the phone world. According to IDC, Windows Phone only had 2.8% market share in
the fourth quarter of 2014, which is considerably less than iOS at 19.7% and Android at 76.6%.
A major hacedor to blame for this lack of success might be the indifference shown from developers towards the platform. Traditionally, big-name app makers have released the Windows Phone versions of their software months, even years, after the Android and iOS versions. But now that might be about to change, with Microsoft announcing at their Build 2015 conference that they will allow apps written for both Android and iOS to be sold in the Windows 10 Store. Let that sink in for a minute, it’s a massive announcement.
Now for the Android apps, here’s how it will work.
Microsoft will be adding a subsystem to Windows 10 that will host software called the Android Open Source Project. This is traditionally used to let developers create custom versions of Android, but Microsoft will use it in Windows 10 to support Android apps written in both Java and C++. This subsystem, called Project Astoria, will allow developers to publish any Android-compatible app in the Windows store without any modifications – as long as it only uses the APIs that Microsoft provides.
Now, in terms of iOS apps, Microsoft will be adding to Visual Studio the ability to compile Objective C code, and create a native Windows 10 app. This compiler will support some of the most common APIs that iOS apps use, and developers will only have to modify their code slightly to make native Windows
10 apps out of their existing iOS codebases.
Now, as I’m sure you’ll agree, these two announcements are HUGE. I can’t think of any other time in tech history where a software company has elected to support applications written for not one but two of its competitors. And the level of support Microsoft is providing is impressive in itself. Adding an Objective C
compiler to Visual Studio would have been unthinkable for the company just several years ago.
So what do you think of running Android and iOS apps on Windows 10? Let me know in the comments below.
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