Microsoft Build 2015: Porting of Android and iOS apps to be simplified on Windows 10

Terry Myerson, Microsoft's vice president of OS development, made an ambitious announcement at the Build 2015 event. He said that it is the goal of Microsoft to have around 1 billion devices running Windows 10 OS within two to three years of its release.


Terry Myerson, Microsoft's vice president of OS development, made an ambitious announcement at the Build 2015 event. He said that it is the goal of Microsoft to have around 1 billion devices running Windows 10 OS within two to three years of its release.

In order to do that Microsoft is going all out in terms of embracing various other platforms as well. Myerson announced four ways to go about getting more apps on the Windows 10 platform, namely Web apps, .NET and Win32 apps, Android (Java/C++) apps and iOS objective C apps.

One way to get more applications on the Windows Store, will be to provide software developers with tools to port the apps from Android as well as the iOS platform onto Windows 10 platform.

According to Myerson, Microsoft software development kit (SDK) will let developers use Java or C++ code that many Android apps are based on and transform it into a Windows app with support for Microsoft services. He also said that developers can use another SDK to tweak the Objective C code which runs on Apple's iOS apps, helping get the Apple apps on to the Microsoft platform.

This move makes sense from a developers point of view, as they do not need to make new apps from scratch for the Windows 10 platform. Microsoft aims to have a single platform across devices. It demoed some native Windows 10 Universal apps on stage at the Build conference where a single app ran on the desktop, phone as well as on Xbox.

Speaking to The Verge Myerson said, "We want to enable developers to leverage their current code and current skills to start building those Windows applications in the Store, and to be able to extend those applications." He acknowledges that porting apps across platforms will not be a simple task. For instance, the Google APIs then for the Windows platform there will be relevant Microsoft replacement for those APIs. Microsoft is offering the promise of using its various tools such as Cortana, Xbox Live, Holograms, Live Tiles and so on to the apps that can be ported.

According to Myerson, King's Candy Crush was ported from the iOS platform to Windows Phone OS using Microsoft's SDK without many modifications.

Microsoft has also created a way for websites to run within a Windows universal app and use services such as notifications, in-app purchases. This basically allows developers to have a web app on the Windows Store instead of a full blown app. Microsoft is also working to get the current .NET and Win32 apps on to Windows 10 platform as well, since there are currently over 16 million of those being used every month on Windows 7 and Windows 8 according to Myerson.

Developers can either do a simple port of the apps from Android/iOS or work deeper to add in features offered by the Windows platform including the Windows design element. According to Myerson, Microsoft has kept both the options open and it's up to the developers to decide which route they want to take.


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