Microsoft is bridging the app gap with Windows 10

  • Posted on November 5, 2015

This is a guest blog post written by Avanade alum, Geert van der Crujsen.

Windows 10This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

A commonly heard downside of the mobile Windows ecosystem is that the Windows store does not have the same amount of apps compared to the Apple app store or the Google Play store. Since the release of Windows Phone 7 in 2010 Microsoft is struggling to even the score with their 2 competitors. Fact is the Windows Phone market share isn’t as high (though it’s still increasing) as the iOS and Android market. Therefore people that build apps are less interested in investing in apps for this platform. This causes a lower market share of Windows Phone because of the availability of these apps.

As you can see these 2 issues have a relation to each other and with Windows 10 Microsoft has found a solution to solve this dilemma. Windows 10 makes it super easy for Android and iOS app developers to also publish their apps to Windows. Microsoft calls these projects “app bridges” and has made 4 of them to make it easier for everyone to publish iOS and Android apps into the Windows store. Next to iOS and Android, Microsoft is also looking into adding Web applications to the Windows store, together with the possibility to add desktop apps made with .Net and Win32 for people to download and install.

These new app bridges are still in development and some are open for preview, but for now it seems Android apps should be able to run without changing anything to their code. iOS apps only need to recompile their app for Windows and Microsoft is also making it possible to add Windows specific features such as live tiles and push notifications, using the tools developers are used building Android or iOS apps.

With web apps getting improved, Project Westminster promises lots of potential as well and it gives web app builders a lot of features to make their web app feel like a native app. With simple additions using Javascript you can also have live tiles, push notifications and other Windows app specific features in your web app making the web app feel more native to the OS.

Microsoft is still using code names for the app bridges. Below are all links to the 4 app bridges that will be available in Windows 10:

  • Project Astoria” enables developers to bring their Android code to Windows
  • Project Centennial” for classic Windows platform code (e.g., .NET, Win32, etc.)
  • Project Islandwood” allows developers to bring their iOS code to the Universal Windows Platform
  • Project Westminster” enables developers to bring their website to the Windows Store.

I think it’s a smart choice that Microsoft enables these bridges to fill the Windows App Store even more. By increasing the numbers of apps in the Windows app store Microsoft will finally be able compete with iOS and Android on an App numbers level so one of the biggest downsides of the Mobile Windows ecosystem can be removed shortly.

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