A report on the Verge today suggests that Microsoft may be considering bringing Android apps to its Windows powered devices. If true, it would seem that the company is coming to grips with the reality of its Windows Phone division. Embracing the mentality of “if you can’t beat’em, join’em,” could end up being the best weapon in Windows Phone’s arsenal.
The report cites “sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans,” who say that the company now under the leadership of new CEO Satya Nadella may look to give Windows 8 and Windows Phone users the ability to run Android apps. Of course, considering an idea isn’t the same thing as embracing it, as the report explains that “some inside Microsoft favor the idea of simply enabling Android apps inside its Windows and Windows Phone Stores, while others believe it could lead to the death of the Windows platform altogether.”
The argument goes that allowing Android apps to run in Windows will kill developers’ incentive to develop apps for Windows, and that in turn will diminish any desire for the platform at all. Moreover, the actual process of allowing users to access Android apps on Windows platforms may be too complicated to ever truly work well. On the other hand, the ability to give users access to the vast amount of apps made for Android will make Windows-powered phones and devices that much of a better sell to consumers.
Speaking personally, I’ve been fascinated by some of the really cool Windows Phones that have been released over the last few months—in particular Nokia’s Lumia 1020, a Windows Phone with a crazy-powerful 41-megapixel camera. Simply put, I want this phone because of its hardware features, and the possibilities promised by syncing a device up with my PC without any hassles.
But…no Android apps. And that is the deal-breaker every time.
Having the ability to run Android apps in a Windows environment would open up so many possibilities, and would allow consumers to more seriously consider Windows platforms. The Verge post also points out Bluestacks, a company that makes an Android AppPlayer for Windows and Mac, essentially creating an easy-to-use Android emulator for whatever computer you use. Now that I know about it, you can rest assured that I’ll be installing it on my Windows 8 tablet.
And since this program already exists and works pretty well, wouldn’t it be in Microsoft’s best interests to simply allow Android applications on Windows platforms officially? Integrating the now-ubiquitous mobile platform’s huge selection of programs would simply make the Windows platform more powerful and attractive, and would finally give potential Windows Phone buyers the incentive to take the plunge and try out Microsoft’s mobile OS for themselves. That could drive up Windows Phone’s user base, and—ta-da—create a bigger pool of customers for Windows Phone apps made exclusively for the platform.
We’ll have to wait and see if anything comes of this report. But as we heard earlier this week, Microsoft and Nokia are working to actually release the Normandy (aka the Nokia X), the Android-powered, Windows-styled smartphone that many believed would never see the light of day. If that can actually come out, who’s to say that Android apps officially running on Windows is any less likely?