It is no secret that Microsoft has big aspirations for Android. The company has spent the best part of the last year releasing a significant number of applications on the Android platform, as well as working with a number of hardware companies to include their apps as pre-installed options. Moves which seem to be gaining the company ground in the Android sphere. However, this was not primarily a move to indicate Microsoft was focusing more on Android than on their own platform. Instead it seemed to be more of a dual-pronged approach. As well as releasing a ton of Android apps, the company has also been working on a project dubbed ‘Astoria’. What Astoria was intending to do, is allow Android developers to port their apps over to be used on Windows 10 running devices.
That said, over the past few months speculation has been mounting over the future of Astoria, as back in November Microsoft essentially put Astoria on hold. Since then, many have been wondering as to whether Astoria would regain its forward momentum. In short, it won’t. Microsoft has today confirmed that Astoria is no more.
The announcement came as part of a wider announcement for all of its app bridging projects and one of the reasons as to why Microsoft has now officially closed Astoria, is that the feedback they received from developers, is that they did not like porting apps from Android and from iOS to Windows 10. These two separate mobile-to-Windows bridge projects, did not seem to be beneficial for developers. As a result, Microsoft has not closed the iOS bridging project, Islandwood, and instead is now asking Android app developers to consider using Islandwood as an alternative. Essentially, making Islandwood the only mobile-to-Windows option they will continue to support. While this might seem unfavorable to developers who work solely on Android apps, it does seem that the decision has been made to cater to those who work on both platforms, offering them one route to focus on going forward. Interestingly, the timing of this announcement is a curious one, as in the last couple of days it has become public knowledge that Microsoft purchased Xamarin, a service which looks to make the development of cross-platform mobile apps an easier process. So while this is the end for Astoria, it does seem likely that Android developers will be able to make use of Xamarin in the future to port their apps over to Windows 10 or iOS for that matter.