In a recent rumor report that our own Alex Wagner reported on earlier today, speculation that Microsoft's Windows Phone platform may support Android applications sometime in the future has surfaced from inside sources. Android, as we all know, has plenty more to offer in the application department than Windows Phone will likely ever have to offer their users. However, many will stick by the phrase that it's quality over quantity, and while Windows Phone might not have as many applications as Android does, or even as many official applications, there is still a unique community to be found within the Windows Phone universe that seems devoted to keeping the platform alive and well with third-party applications.
But while that's all well and fine for people who already dig Windows Phone, it can be intimidating for your average person to want to switch from a more developed platform like Android or iOS to Windows Phone when there is no real incentive to switch. From the outside, all they know is that developers don't have as much interest in Windows Phone and that the platform has seemingly very little reason to switch aside from perhaps a great camera. In the end, it doesn't seem like too far fetched of an idea to consider allowing Android app support on the Windows Phone platform.
I see it rolling one of two - no, three - ways.
My first thought when I read about the rumor was something along the lines of, "Oh, hey that's great!" And then I proceed to think about all of the great things that could come of it. Then reality set in. I started thinking about the fact that BlackBerry has already done something similar to this, and it virtually did nothing for them. It might have gained them a few supporters here and there in the beginning, but BlackBerry 10 doesn't really seem to have gained much benefit from supporting Android applications at this point. Realizing how much it didn't help BlackBerry sort of sets in the reality that it probably won't do much for Windows Phone either.
On the other hand, you could also point the blame for BlackBerry's woes at the fact that their company as a whole has been pretty unstable for the past year. BlackBerry 10 has been the subject of a lot of debate on whether the revamped platform was a little too late to the game in order to gain any real traction, and of course you have the looming uncertainty of whether BlackBerry will even exist in one or two year's time. You can always hope for the best, but the reality is that nobody really knows where BlackBerry is going at this point. Windows Phone, on the other hand, is the product of a company that has a lot more stability to offer.
But you also have to consider the second point I was trying to make, and that's what the general consumer has in mind. If a sales representative at a phone store is trying to sell Windows Phone to a customer, and the customer brings up the issue that they're worried about the lack of apps that Windows Phone offers in comparison to Android or iOS, the sales rep can try to counter that issue by saying that actually, Windows Phone now supports Android applications. For some people, it might serve as a convincing argument. For most, I think the rational decision at that point would be to just spring for Android if that's how it's going to be. After all, just because the apps are supported on Windows Phone doesn't mean it will be optimized for use on Windows Phone, which can make or break the entire experience.
I'm leaning towards my final opinion on the rumor that I think it just shouldn't happen. I think if an app is going to be on Windows Phone, it should be specifically created for Windows Phone. It will make Windows Phone sound like a more solid platform if they don't have to use "Android support" as an advertising crutch. I could be completely wrong, but I guess I just keep thinking back to how much Android app support did (or didn't do) for BlackBerry 10. It's a good idea in theory, but in the end it just didn't seem to pan out like it should.
Readers, what are your thoughts on Windows Phone bringing Android app support to the platform? Would it encourage you to switch, or would you just end up going with an Android phone in the end? Let us know your thoughts on this rumor in the comments below!