Microsoft reportedly considering Android app support for Windows and Windows Phone

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from Omaha, NE
Published: February 12, 2014

Nokia Lumia 820, Lumia 920

One of the more interesting features of BlackBerry 10 is its support for Android applications, which gives the platform's users the ability to load apps meant for Google's mobile operating system onto their Z10, Q10 or other BB10 handset. The feature helps to boost the number of apps that are available to BlackBerry 10 users, which is important considering that BB10 is a new platform and is still growing its own app catalog.

Microsoft's Windows Phone is in a similar app situation, and while it's got its fair share of high-profile apps, the Live Tile-toting platform is still lagging behind Android and iOS when it comes to app selection and support. The folks in Redmond have been working hard to close that app deficit, and today a new report suggests that Microsoft may decide to emulate BlackBerry in order to help boost its app selection.

Sources speaking to The Verge claim that Microsoft is considering enabling support for Android apps on both Windows and Windows Phone. The move is still in the early stages of planning, and it's said that there's disagreement within Microsoft about whether or not such a feature would help or hurt the Windows platforms.

The details of Microsoft's plans are still light, but the company reportedly doesn't want to get too involved in the Android app support process. As it stands now, Microsoft would add support for Android apps to Windows and manage the store that they'd be downloaded from, but the company would likely get a "third-party enabler" to actually support the platform. One possible candidate is BlueStacks, which has been enabling Android apps to be run inside of Windows for quite a while now.

Android app support in Windows and Windows Phone is still far from official, and right now the turmoil it's causing inside of Microsoft makes it unclear if the feature will ever actually make it to market. It's definitely an interesting strategy, and I'm sure that many Windows Phone fans would welcome the app boost that Android app support would bring.

On the other hand, BlackBerry 10 has supported Android apps for quite a while now and it's still struggling to gain significant market share. There's also the consideration that if Microsoft were to add Android app support to Windows Phone, many developers may opt to simply port their Android app over with few or no changes, leaving users with an app that looks out of place on Windows Phone and may not work quite as well as a native WP app.

What do you make of this new rumor? Would the addition of Android app support get you interested in using Windows Phone?

Via The Verge