Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 12th Feb 2014 16:49 UTC

Major scoop by Tom Warren.

Sources familiar with Microsoft's plans tell The Verge that the company is seriously considering allowing Android apps to run on both Windows and Windows Phone. While planning is ongoing and it's still early, we're told that some inside Microsoft favor the idea of simply enabling Android apps inside its Windows and Windows Phone Stores, while others believe it could lead to the death of the Windows platform altogether. The mixed (and strong) feelings internally highlight that Microsoft will need to be careful with any radical move.

Now, I have a very crazy theory about this whole thing. I obviously have no inside sources like Warren has, so load this image in another tab while reading this, but what if instead of this being an attempt to bridge the 'application gap', this is the first step in a Microsoft transition towards Android as a whole?

Much like the PC world, which eventually settled on two players, the mobile world has settled on two players: Android and iOS. It's the cold and harsh truth. Does it really make sense for Microsoft to focus all that energy on developing Windows Phone - not to a whole lot of avail so far - when they could just take Android, add their own services, and more importantly, their own very popular and ubiquitous enterprise software, and sell that instead? Microsoft actually started out as an application software provider, and not as an operating system vendor, so it's not like they would do something they're not comfortable with.

The biggest reason this crazy, unfounded theory came to my mind is that I simply cannot believe Microsoft would actually make it possible to run Android applications on Windows Phone. First, running Android applications on another platform is not exactly issue-free. Second, this has not exactly helped BlackBerry (and Sailfish, for that matter) either. Third, Windows Phone (and Windows 8 Metro) are already afterthoughts for developers, nothing more than mere side-projects in between iOS and Android work. Why would any of them develop native applications if they can just send their already completed APK to Microsoft? It'd be the death of Windows Phone and Metro.

Combined with the news that Nokia's Android phone is actually going to come out, it wouldn't surprise me at all if Microsoft is thinking about phasing out Windows Phone, with the ability to run Android applications on the platform as a first step in this migration.

There are major issues with such an approach, of course, not least of which the problem Amazon has also run into: no Google Play Services, meaning several popular applications won't run at all. If you're truly, truly outrageous, you could even consider a pact between Microsoft and Google, a combined effort that would take some possible antitrust heat off Google's back, and would give them a united front against Apple and iOS. Even this has precedent: unlike what some think, Microsoft and Apple have a long history of close cooperation. There's no reason Microsoft wouldn't do it again, if needed.

In any case, this is all very interesting stuff, and it shows just how much of a problem the lack of any presence in the mobile world has become for Microsoft. The new CEO has some very tough calls to make.

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Android on Blackberry
by WorknMan on Wed 12th Feb 2014 17:49 UTC
Member since:

How well does running Android apps on Blackberry work? I have a friend with a Blackberry Z10, which she loves. I mentioned to her that I'd heard it was possible to run Android apps on it, which she had no idea about. So maybe the problem is that at least some Blackberry users have no idea this is possible. I sent her a couple of links, and she said she'd look into it.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Android on Blackberry
by CaptainN- on Wed 12th Feb 2014 18:22 in reply to "Android on Blackberry"
CaptainN- Member since:

I'm not sure if they added NDK support in recent versions (probably not), but if the app is Dalvik based, they run almost perfectly. The original idea for the compatibility layer was to allow easier porting for developers (BBOS is an pretty developer friendly platform). Many apps in BB world are actually Android versions, and you'd never know it (they have a back button widget tray though, so if you know what to look for you can tell).

In the latest version (10.2.1 I think it is) they even made it possible to install APK files directly, where previously, Android apps had to be packaged a certain way (the original idea being that developers, and not end users were supposed to "port" Android apps to their platform).

I think there's even a way to get GApps installed, so you can use all the Google stuff, though I'm not sure about Google Play. I'm also not sure if it's possible to install Amazon App Store.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Android on Blackberry
by grantpalin on Wed 12th Feb 2014 19:47 in reply to "RE: Android on Blackberry"
grantpalin Member since:

Yup. 10.2.1 allows installing Android APK packages without repackaging or sideloading. The app for Amazon's store can be used, and there's an app called Snap which connects to Google Play. I've used both, they work. There are still issues with apps that connect to Google's services, aside from Play.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Android on Blackberry
by grantpalin on Wed 12th Feb 2014 19:44 in reply to "Android on Blackberry"
grantpalin Member since:

Z10 user here. Running Android apps on BB10 was possible from release, though said apps had to be repackaged, then sideloaded via a computer. Performance and stability were so-so.

With the recent 10.2.1 update, it's possible to install Android apps directly, without repackaging or sideloading. In fact, the Amazon store can be installed and Android apps downloaded through that. Also, there is a BB10 app called Snap which connects to Google Play, and allows download via a Google account. Performance is better than it was, though still spotty in some cases.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Android on Blackberry
by Adurbe on Thu 13th Feb 2014 14:01 in reply to "RE: Android on Blackberry"
Adurbe Member since:

how is the compatibility? Are we talking you can install but only 1-% of apps actually work properly and/or feel native

Reply Parent Score: 2