Windows Phone is still plagued by a lack of key applications years after launch. Looking to avoid similar such issues with its next platform, Microsoft has confirmed Windows 10 phones will run Android apps, sort of.
This isn’t quite a straight cross-platform port, but it’s not too far off.
The Surface Pro 3 maker has confirmed that developers will be able to port their pre-existing Android apps built using Java or C++ with only a few minor tweaks.
“The Windows Store will offer great support for apps built using web code, .net and Win32 code, enabling you to use your current code basis and delight customers across the 1 billion Windows 10 devices,” Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s Executive VP of Operating Systems teased making the announcement.
He added: “Now, we will enable developers to use almost all of the Java and C++ code from an Android Phone app to create apps for phones running Windows 10.”
Detailing the process, Myerson stated: “To make this possible, Windows phones will include an Android sub-system that takes advantage of the Android code, plus the extensions you’ll write for the Windows platform that will really delight the Windows user.”
Agnieszka Girling, Microsoft’s Principal Group Program Manager, added: “You will be able to build great Windows apps using much of the same code you’ve used on Android.”
It’s not just Android apps that are coming to Windows Phone, Microsoft has confirmed it is to make it easier to port iOS apps to its mobile platform.
“Bringing the code over, extending it, putting it in the Windows Store, today we are announcing that you will be able to compile the same Objective C code that’s being used in iOS applications within Visual Studio on Windows.”
This will enable developers “to leverage that code and extend it using the capabilities only on the Windows platform.”
Related: Windows 10 release date
So, when can we expect to see the first Android and iOS apps moved across to Windows Phone and, eventually, Windows 10? Well, they are already here.
“Usually when we announce this sort of thing, we would say that it’s ‘coming soon’,” Myerson said.
“This time it’s different. We’ve been working with some great partners on bringing their applications to Windows using this technology already.
“Today, I’m very excited to share that this is how King brought Candy Crash Saga to Windows Phone. King brought this to Windows Phone with only a few modifications in a really short space of time.”