At Build 2015 today, Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s executive vice president of operating systems, announced four new ways to get apps into the Windows Store. Developers can reuse their Web code, Windows desktop applications (.NET code), Android apps (Java and C++), and iOS apps (Objective C).
For a long time now, Microsoft has been exploring various ways of offering Android apps on Windows and Windows Phone, including by way of an emulator, similar to how BlackBerry allows Android apps to run on its devices. Today, Myerson finally pulled back the curtain on the company’s plan: This support will be available via four new SDKs, which will let developers use an existing code base to integrate with the Universal Windows Platform, and then distribute their new app through the Windows Store.
As I said last month, “The rumor that Android apps will one day run on Windows devices is one that simply refuses to die.” And now it has come to pass — with some important fine print.
To be clear, this doesn’t mean Windows users will be able to download an existing Web app, desktop application, Android app, or iOS app from their original source and run them on Windows 10. It means developers will be able to use their existing code and bring it to Windows 10 “with very few code modifications.”
Microsoft’s message is clear: If you already build for Android and iOS, you can now port your apps and games to Windows. In this way, the company is hoping to get apps on Windows 10 without asking developers to build them completely from scratch.
This is a big deal for Android and iOS developers, but it also means developers who have been building Windows desktop applications for years (or even decades) will be able to get additional exposure on Windows 10. Adobe, for example, has already promised it will be bringing Photoshop Elements and Premier Elements (both Win32 apps) to the Windows Store.
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