Microsoft has released a cheeky Switch to Windows Phone app onto its biggest rival app store, the Google Play Store for Android.
The Switch to Windows Phone app is available now for free on Android. It promises “a convenient way to migrate your app experiences over.”
In truth, it’s more of a marketing tool aimed at counteracting the widely held perception that Windows Phone’s glaring weakness is its lack of app support.
Install Switch to Windows Phone on your Android phone, and Microsoft claims the app will scan to see how many of your apps are available on the Windows Phone Marketplace.
Then, if you decide to go ahead and make the leap to a Windows Phone 8 device like the Nokia Lumia 920 or the HTC 8X, you can save the results for such an occasion. Now when you boot up your new phone you can install a similar app through the Marketplace and have it download all of the apps that match up to your former Android device.
It’s a clever idea, but it’s not quite as useful as you might be hoping for. For one thing, the app doesn’t tell you any of the specific apps that have been matched. It just provides a percentage.
Another point to note is that not all of the apps will necessarily be an exact match. Switch to Windows Phone app provides alternatives where no such app exists, which is a sneaky distinction.
Finally, Switch to Windows Phone doesn’t seem to work on all devices in all regions. Here in the UK, the app didn’t want to install at all on any of our devices.
Still, it’s a bold move on Microsoft’s part, and bold moves are what is needed if Windows Phone is to grab itself a significant piece of the smartphone pie.