Microsoft's Astoria Android Emulation Might Not Happen
Written by MIke James   
Tuesday, 17 November 2015

It has to be admitted that this isn't hard news, but there are a number of sources indicating that Microsoft might be having trouble with its project Astoria. 



Microsoft being Microsoft it has neither confirmed nor denied the information in a publicly citeable way, but there is enough evidence to suggest that it might be about to change course. 

Project Astoria is one of the four bridge projects that Microsoft thought up to try and get more Universal Apps: 

  • Project Westminster -  porting Web apps
  • Project Centennial -  porting Win32 apps
  • Project Islandwood - porting iOS apps
  • Project Astoria -  emulating Android apps

There is also the non-Microsoft Silverlight bridge which ports Silverlight projects.

While there is continuing news of Islandwood and Westminster, Astoria has reportedly fallen silent. Most of this information has been from unrevealed sources speaking to Windows Central and other news outlets.

It is reported that the Project Astoria forum (in closed beta) has been silent since September with questions going unanswered. In addition the Android emulator has been removed from recent Windows 10 Mobile builds. Finally it is reported that Microsoft is no longer talking to the developers it signed up to the project under an NDA. 

The most that Microsoft has said is in response to Windows Central news item:

"We're committed to offering developers many options to bring their apps to the Windows Platform, including bridges available now for Web and iOS, and soon Win32. The Astoria bridge is not ready yet, but other tools offer great options for developers. For example, the iOS bridge enables developers to write a native Windows Universal app which calls UWP APIs directly from Objective-C, and to mix and match UWP and iOS concepts such as XAML and UIKit. Developers can write apps that run on all Windows 10 devices and take advantage of native Windows features easily. We're grateful to the feedback from the development community and look forward to supporting them as they develop apps for Windows 10."

So is that a yes or a no? 




The response is a classic Microsoft "say nothing while speaking lots of words" and in the past it has generally been taken as an indicator that things are on the negative side. 

The big problem with Astoria is that, unlike the other bridges, it is an emulator. Microsoft already has a very good Android emulator for Visual Studio, but getting an emulator to work on Windows 10 Mobile with limited resources might not be as easy as at first thought.

The other bridges also require some programmer effort to port the code to Windows 10, but Astoria would simply allow existing Android apps to flood the Windows 10 market. This is not good news for the developers who have backed Microsoft's new platform. 



There is also the fact that an Android bridge in the form of an emulator is slightly nuts. If most of the Windows 10 Mobile apps are going to be Android apps and if these are being run under an Android emulator, why not just get rid of the top layer and create a Microsoft branded version of Android? 

After all, you could then create a project called Winless that was a bridge from universal apps to MS-Droid.

We will have to wait and see, but knowing Microsoft's style of killing projects it could be along wait - unless of course they are still 100% behind Astoria, in which case there should be a robust response any day.


More Information

Microsoft's Project Astoria and Android app emulation not happening anytime soon

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Project Westminster - Another Web App Format

Windows 10 - The Trojan Horse

Why Should We Write Universal Apps When Microsoft Drops Them - Skype To Go Desktop Only

Android And iOS Apps For Windows 10



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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 17 November 2015 )