In case you were hoping to simply download a bunch of .apks to your new Lumia, not so fast – Windows will only support converted versions of iOS and Android apps. Bear in mind that we are not talking about emulation, like AMD’s attempt with Bluestacks, but rather reworked apps for Windows.
The good news is that developers won’t have to go through a complete code rewrite. Much of the work will be done by conversion software, using Microsoft’s SDKs in Objective C, Java and C++.
However, developers could get away with even less work, because they could try using unmodified apps, although they would miss out on the opportunity to access Windows 10 features such as Live Tiles and Cortana.
Microsoft’s “universal app” approach seems to be taking a different route than originally expected. Redmond originally said its goal was to enable apps compatible across all of its platforms, from phones to desktops and Xbox consoles.
Adding iOS and Android apps to the mix is like a big deal, especially for Microsoft’s fledgling smartphone business. Microsoft currently controls about 3% of the global smartphone market and is dwarfed by Apple and Google. A new generation of devices, offering unparalleled integration with its desktop OS, backed by compatibility with Android and iOS apps could help turn its fortunes around.
Of course, we still need to see how it all goes, and whether or not developers decide to take up Microsoft offer. Most importantly, we need to see how iOS and Android apps actually behave on Windows hardware.