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Windows 10 Can Run Reworked Android and iOS Apps 223

An anonymous reader writes with this interesting news from Microsoft. After months of rumors, Microsoft is revealing its plans to get mobile apps on Windows 10 today. While the company has been investigating emulating Android apps, it has settled on a different solution, or set of solutions, that will allow developers to bring their existing code to Windows 10. iOS and Android developers will be able to port their apps and games directly to Windows universal apps, and Microsoft is enabling this with two new software development kits. On the Android side, Microsoft is enabling developers to use Java and C++ code on Windows 10, and for iOS developers they'll be able to take advantage of their existing Objective C code. '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,' explained Microsoft's Terry Myerson during an interview with The Verge this morning.
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Windows 10 Can Run Reworked Android and iOS Apps

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  • or provide a translation engine

  • Why would anybody want this? I can't think of any mobile apps that would be useful on a regular computer. Most of the really useful mobile apps are only really specific to the fact they're being run on a mobile device, and/or are really only helpful for bridging a gap between a phone and a computer.
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Wednesday April 29, 2015 @03:35PM (#49579889) Homepage Journal

      they're probably talking about wanting to run Android/iOS apps on Windows 10 phones.

      • Ah. That would make a bit more sense.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          To me it still doesn't make sense why they call the desktop OS Windows 8/Windows 10 and the phone OS Windows 8/Windows 10. Why they have two types of tablets: one that runs Windows 8 and can thus run Windows 8 programs, and another that runs Windows 8 and thus can run Windows 8 but also applications of Windows 8. Unfortunately the first tablet with Windows 8 can't run Windows 8 programs because the Windows 8 programs have to be completely rewritten in another language. On the phones with Windows 8 you can a

          • by shione ( 666388 )

            The problem ms still has with this is nobody wants to buy their android/ios apps AGAIN. So ms might be able to get new people who have never had a android or iphone before (how many of these people would there be?) the windows phone will still have a lack of incentive for people to swap phones because nobody wants to buy their entire library of apps again. ms may as well throw the towel in. they came in too late to the phone market even after steering nokia to its death for the ms cause.

            A android/ios app ru

      • by bjwest ( 14070 )
        Could also be thinking ahead to a Windows 10 TV? Being able to run the current Apple and Android TV apps as soon as it comes out would probibly make people hesitate less on purchasing one, if there ever is such a thing.
      • by dj245 ( 732906 )

        they're probably talking about wanting to run Android/iOS apps on Windows 10 phones.

        Are you sure about that? I have only seen Windows phones, and not owned one but as an owner of a Windows 8 tablet, the desktop OS looks a lot like a portable device and vice versa. In fact, it seems they have been planning convergence [microsoft.com] for some time. Windows 10 might be the OS where the differences between mobile and desktop are only in the relevent aspects of the UI.

      • Actually I've been installing Steam more and more on computers owned by people that you wouldn't think of as "gamers" because they have casual mobile games that they want to play on their laptop or desktop as well as their phone or tablet. If MSFT makes it so Windows 10 can run these natively? I'm sure all those casuals would give the Windows appstore a boost.
    • by armanox ( 826486 )
      Think tablets and phones (Windows Tablets and phones)
    • by alen ( 225700 )

      run games on a PC that I play on IOS or Android and not run down my battery or use too much data or sometimes they are pretty good games

    • by erice ( 13380 )

      Why would anybody want this? I can't think of any mobile apps that would be useful on a regular computer. Most of the really useful mobile apps are only really specific to the fact they're being run on a mobile device, and/or are really only helpful for bridging a gap between a phone and a computer.

      While "really useful" is not the word I would use to describe them, Hinge and Tinder are mobile only. Neither has a web site that does more than point to a mobile app.

      As I recall, some Craiglist scraping apps had features unavailable on any web site or desktop application.

      Waze finally has a useful web interface after years of only being able to check routes on the mobile app.

    • Why would anybody want this?

      Well, the strategy worked so brilliantly for the Amiga (Emulate an Atari ST! Emulate a Mac! Emulate anything that isn't an Amiga!) that obviously Microsoft have decided to give it a go too.

    • by jsepeta ( 412566 )

      You've obviously never used Korg Gadget on an iPad. This app SCREAMS to be run on a system with more horsepower and a bigger screen.

  • I at least find the approach interesting. I wonder if this is going to go the same route they tried with browsers in Metro where they could talk to a back-end process (Win32 or otherwise).
  • *Badly (Score:4, Funny)

    by netsavior ( 627338 ) on Wednesday April 29, 2015 @03:40PM (#49579937)
    the headline accidentally left out a word.

    Windows 10 Can Run Reworked Android and iOS Apps, Badly
    • Re:*Badly (Score:5, Interesting)

      by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Wednesday April 29, 2015 @03:48PM (#49579995) Homepage

      I think the main question is how much reworking is needed to make the apps run well. Reworking could mean anything from ensuring there is no requirement for things that possibly couldn't exist on a standard windows machine, such as games that require tilt controls. It could also mean rewriting 90% of the code. There's no reason why they shouldn't be able to get this to work. If they can get Android and iOS apps to run on windows tablets, phones, and desktops, then that will be one more reason for users to switch back to Windows. Personally, I have a Windows tablet and I love it. The only real problem is the small number of apps. If they could make iOS and Android apps run on it, then all the better.

      • From past systems like this, I think it would mean that you can technically use Objective-C code, just not any of the system frameworks... but that would be a pretty huge limitation if so, and involve a ton of re-work for anything existing.

        I don't know why companies get so exited around being able to re-use a subset of business logic, and nothing else.... get a rules engine people!

        • It looks like in fact Microsoft is providing some kind of middle layer which provides much of the iOS framework libraries, they are calling it "Islandwood". Couldn't find details beyond that though.

          It doesn't mean much to me that a game was ported with minimal effort since that would mostly be using OpenGL and the like.

        • From past systems like this, I think it would mean that you can technically use Objective-C code, just not any of the system frameworks... but that would be a pretty huge limitation if so, and involve a ton of re-work for anything existing.

          That's what I was thinking. The devil's in the details beneath the word "Reworked".

          By that same headline, pretty much any app written for any platform can be "reworked" to run on any other platform.

          It's a ridiculous claim at this point. Typical Microsoft marketing babble.

          Wake me when it works; I need a good long nap...

          • by batkiwi ( 137781 )

            It does work, King used it to port candy crush saga.

      • There's no reason why they shouldn't be able to get this to work.

        it's a massive engineering effort, and they admit as much in the article. even if you 98% of the things working, the last 2% is going to cause unacceptable app crashes.

        think about the engineering effort to take the entire iOS *and* Android SDK, plus the Google APIs, and make them all work with MSFT. that's not just string manipulations, it's all of the APIs that connect to cloud services, sensors, and so on.

      • by dj245 ( 732906 )

        Personally, I have a Windows tablet and I love it. The only real problem is the small number of apps. If they could make iOS and Android apps run on it, then all the better.

        Why do you think a small number of apps is a problem? I have a Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows 8, and it can run any Windows software ever written that it meets the minimum requirements for. I have never once thought "boy I wish I had an app that did X". In fact, I wish some of the apps that I do have (Skype, for one) were not apps at all but normal Windows programs.

        • Because it can be a problem. There are apps that you don't have access too. As a WinPhone user I just lost my banking app. It had been fantastic for the last year and a half, and then in March they just stopped it. I can use the website to do most things, but I can no longer use the camera to deposit checks. I may have to actually visit a bank..... There are many more apps, but so far that one is the one I care about most. Other than that I have loved my Lumia 1520 and want to see what they roll out
      • I think the main question is how much reworking is needed to make the apps run well.

        It's pretty straightforward really, you take your iOS app, you throw away everything other than int main( int argc, char **argv ), and then you replace the rest of the code with the Windows 10 equivalent.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Just think about the UI for a moment. Ported apps are going to suck, and be a horrible mish-mash of three radically different UIs. Android has a back button, iOS and Windows do not. On iOS you usually get some custom "back" functionality, on Windows most apps don't use that paradigm at all.

        What about notifications? I haven't seen Windows Phone's implementation, but Android notifications are light years ahead of the simple ones that iOS supports. There is a lot of functionality built in to the Android notifi

        • by Ancil ( 622971 )

          Android has a back button, iOS and Windows do not.

          Actually, Android and Windows Phone both have dedicated back buttons. iPhone is the outlier here.

          What about notifications? I haven't seen Windows Phone's implementation, but Android notifications are light years ahead of the simple ones that iOS supports.

          Notification functionality is pretty much identical on my Windows Phone and Nexus 5.

          This stuff is all simple. The hard thing to emulate would be in-app advertisements and in-app purchases. Developers take th

        • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

          iOS apps don't access a filesystem, they use the device's media databases which are all descended from the iTunes database.

          This is almost 100% wrong. Certainly close enough that we may as well call it. I haven't written an iOS app yet that didn't access the filesystem directly. It's rather a common operation. There are no databases on the device that descend from the iTunes database. That doesn't even make sense. There's the iTunes database (not a descendent), and the assets library (photos, videos), which is a separate database. Another popular database is AddressBook, again, not descended from iTunes, whatever that wou

      • by shione ( 666388 )

        It would also need to be reworked so the app isn't tied to your itunes/google play account anymore but to ms's app store. If people still need a itunes/google play account to make the app work then ms still has that problem where people have a itunes/google play account already... why wouldnt they just stay there and buy apps off itunes/google play to run on the windows phone.

  • Shades of OS/2... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 29, 2015 @03:42PM (#49579949)

    a.k.a. "a better DOS than DOS" and "a better Windows than Windows." That did not end well.

  • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Wednesday April 29, 2015 @03:43PM (#49579953)

    It just requires a little more "reworking."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 29, 2015 @03:55PM (#49580051)

    Hey Google and Apple, how about changing your API just enough to break Microsoft's implementation every time they release a version? Pleeeeease.

    LOL

    • That.... that would be awesome.

    • by alannon ( 54117 )

      Why would they want to do this? MS providing a "reworking"/"publishing" tool that lets you easily port iOS and Android apps to Win10 means that more developers are targeting non-MS platforms as their primary platforms. This sounds more like MS is signalling, "We haven't been very successful with this, so we're going to follow your lead for now." There's been a pretty radical culture change in the DevTools/Frameworks/Runtimes teams at Microsoft, signalled by the fact that all of their core runtimes and we

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Neither would, because they make sure that their APIs are stable for older apps to use. New functionality doesn't break the old. Of course Microsoft will have to keep adding support for these new functions, or just hoping apps degrade properly when it isn't available.

      Having said that, Apple has gone out of its way to break compatible implementations of its DRM before (remember when Real implemented Fairplay or whatever their music DRM is called?) so I wouldn't put some asshattery past them.

  • by Dracos ( 107777 ) on Wednesday April 29, 2015 @03:56PM (#49580059)

    What I'm reading is that MS has all but given up on Windows as a mobile development platform for the sake of being able to run Android/iOS apps.

    It also serves as a tacit acknowledgment that MS isn't connecting with mobile developers, and that mobile apps drive mobile platforms.

    • This reminds me a lot of how IBM tried to deal with 32 bit Windows compatibility. They created a set of libraries and APIs to try to facilitate the easy porting of Win32 software to OS/2. In the end, developers simply didn't bite, because IBM's desktop market share was too low to make it worth it. I see Microsoft running up against the same problem; why bother going through the effort, even with assistance, of porting mobile apps from the two dominant platforms (and by dominant I mean dominating something l

      • Incorrect. IBM provided run-time support for existing Win32 software. No porting, no recompile. Windows was essentially a full-fledged subsystem of OS/2.

        • My memory may be failing, but the IBM's license agreements only applied to Win16 and Win32s, and not to Win32, thus IBM could not place the Win32 API in OS/2, and thus developed a developer migration toolkit.

          • My memory is also failing! You're correct - it was limited to Win16 and Win32S. However, at the time OS/2 2.0 was released all (or nearly all) Windows software was 16 bit. Those 16-bit Windows apps didn't need any SDK, recompile, or anything. They ran as-is.

    • The Windows Phone platform and tools may indeed be inferior to Android and iOS. However, this business decision doesn't suggest that anymore than the fact that far more software is written for Windows than Mac proves the inherent superiority of Windows.

  • " advantage of their existing Objective C code."

    Of course, Apple has been pushing Swift ... by the time this tool gains traction, how many of the newest sexiest IOS apps will not port because they aren't Objective-C?

    • by bondsbw ( 888959 )

      How many Obj-C apps have been rewritten in Swift? I can see new apps and old apps that needed major rework, but most companies aren't going to invest the time it takes to port from Obj-C to Swift with little or no gain in market share.

  • The UI was "artsy" in WP7, but it's just cluttered and ugly now. You can't even use live tiles like widgets. No one will adopt this platform until they fix the UI. WP marketshare actually shrank last year. Heck even Blackberry predicts they'll sell double the units this year.

    • Re:Metro UI (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Wednesday April 29, 2015 @04:10PM (#49580181) Homepage
      I buy Windows Phone because of the UI. It's about a decade ahead of Android and Apple's "lots of little random icons on a grid" thing that most people still tolerate for some bizarre reason.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Just modded you up because: (1) I rather like the Windows Phone UI and (2) because Microsoft did it's own thing while Google just aped what Apple was doing. I'm going to get down-modded into oblivion for pointing that last part out but I saw early Android prototypes and they were very clearly Blackberry killers.
      • by ruir ( 2709173 )
        I guess it is a coincidence most of the corporate people I know carry their mandatory Windows Phone and an extra iPhone. I think thats because Windows is so ahead of time, they must also use something from the present.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 29, 2015 @04:02PM (#49580111)

    In the 80's Microsoft wrote their applications to be able to import files in formats from other companies, but not export back to the same formats. Examples were lotus 1-2-3 and Wordperfect. This tactic was a trick to encourage and then lock in developers to work only on the Windows platform using Microsoft's software. It also explains their reluctance to make easily available export tools to Open Office formats unless forced by a government such at the UK.

    Examples of this trick:

    1. http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/office_2010-excel/convert-lotus-123-wk4-to-excel-2010/f9508a7f-9cd0-418e-aac8-0e01f0e26da1
    2. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2671933
    3. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=4540
    4. Results of google searching for openoffice converter at microsoft.com: https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&rlz=1CAHPZY_enUS566US566&ion=1&espv=2&es_th=1&ie=UTF-8#q=microsoft+openoffice++converter+site:microsoft.com
    5. And lastly check what page hits a google search of microsoft.com returns: https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&rlz=1CAHPZY_enUS566US566&ion=1&espv=2&es_th=1&ie=UTF-8#q=microsoft+converter+site:microsoft.com
    • by alannon ( 54117 )

      How does a tool that allows you to re-work your existing iOS or Android source projects into Win10 projects compare to a tool that allows you to convert a document from 1-2-3 or WP into Excel/Word? Or rather, how could it possibly lock a software developer into the Windows platform? This is more like a life-support tactic to allow developers to publish to mobile Windows with minimal effort, with the hope that the platform catches enough traction that developers would start developing native Windows 10 mob

    • Slashdot is old school and will not convert links for you, so you need HTML tags to make links clickable.

      <a href="http://www.example.com">example title</a>

      Convert Lotus 123 .wk4 to Excel 2010 - Microsoft Community [microsoft.com]

      Convert Lotus 123 .wk4 to Excel 2010 [microsoft.com]

      Office XP WordPerfect 5.x Converter Security Patch: KB824938 [microsoft.com]

      Results of google searching for openoffice converter at microsoft.com: microsoft openoffice converter site:microsoft.com - Google Search [google.com]

      And lastly check what page hits a google search of microsoft.com returns: microsoft converter site:microsoft.com - Google Search [google.com]

    • In the 80's Microsoft wrote their applications to be able to import files in formats from other companies, but not export back to the same formats. Examples were lotus 1-2-3 and Wordperfect. This tactic was a trick to encourage and then lock in developers to work only on the Windows platform using Microsoft's software.

      Huh? Application developers in the 80's were dependent on and 'trapped' by Microsoft's Office file formats? That's just a weird theory. Which applications do you mean? Don't say 'Wordperf

  • .... that maintants a separate marketing channel for these apps. They don't want people taking their Windows devices and going to the Google store (or third party outlets) to download native Android aps.

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Wednesday April 29, 2015 @04:14PM (#49580205)

    I am a big believer in emulators. Just have an emulator that can run android or ios apps sort of like wine emulates windows apps for linux.

    Every OS should have a suite of emulators that can run any program from any other operating system.

    Yes, you take a performance hit when you emulate but if your computer is speedy you don't notice.

    I have a virtual OSX, Virtual linux, and a couple virtual flavors of windows on my PC. I can run pretty much anything. At top speed without a performance hit? No... OSX especially is a little bit slower because the optimization isn't great. I love my virtual machines.

    • Yes, you take a performance hit when you emulate but if your computer is speedy you don't notice.

      On the other hand, if your "computer" (i.e., cell-phone, tablet) is not speedy, you will. And if your computer uses batteries, you will also notice.

  • Hypocrites (Score:4, Interesting)

    by damicatz ( 711271 ) on Wednesday April 29, 2015 @04:43PM (#49580429)

    Microsoft was an amicus supporting Oracle in their efforts to copyright APIs.

    Now they want to turn around and do the exact same thing, only for Android and iOS. And to top that all off, their entire success is based on the fact that they were able to rip off the CP/M APIs and clone them for IBM and do so for much cheaper than what DR wanted.

    • by Quarters ( 18322 )

      Would you care to provide some links to support your claim? I mean what I assume is your claim that Microsoft wrote an amicus brief supporting Oracle in the lawsuit. There is no such thing as being 'an amicus'.

      I can find many supports showing Microsoft in support of an appeal of the case, including a posted story right here on Slashdot
      http://developers.slashdot.org... [slashdot.org]

      I can find zero stories about them being in support of Oracle.

      • Would you care to provide some links to support your claim? I mean what I assume is your claim that Microsoft wrote an amicus brief supporting Oracle in the lawsuit. There is no such thing as being 'an amicus'.

        I can find many supports showing Microsoft in support of an appeal of the case, including a posted story right here on Slashdot
        http://developers.slashdot.org... [slashdot.org]

        I can find zero stories about them being in support of Oracle.

        Yes.

        http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-... [arstechnica.net]

        And amicus is the correct term.

  • I can't wait for Windows 10 to finally support C++ applications. I've been using it since the 70's, and it's really great to see such a prolific language finally hit the Windows platform. This truly is the year of the Windows Desktop.
  • by WaffleMonster ( 969671 ) on Wednesday April 29, 2015 @06:28PM (#49581155)

    Microsoft is killing themselves. Lowering the cost of porting applications is no substitute for generating organic demand for a platform people see value in using.

    MS has a technologically sound platform yet their desperate attempts at "Apple emulation" is costing them dearly in terms of hackers and developers in a position to want to write software for WP.

    The platform is openly hostile to customization and demonstrates no respect for privacy or rights of its users.

    In addition to failing to offer basic features available in other platforms including insanely enough even features present in previous generations of "Windows Mobile".

    Until this changes good luck getting anyone to care about using the platform much less develop software for it.

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