At Build earlier this year, Microsoft made a bold bet that it could build tools, that the company called bridges, to allow developers to significantly leverage their existing code for Android and iOS and port it to run on Windows. The project for Android was called Astoria and Microsoft is now saying that it is not moving forward which means that the project as been shelved, according to a statement given to Re/Code.
The implications of this project not being delivered is that it means developers who wanted to leverage their code for Android apps and use it for a Windows app will have one less tool to use. While many will likely tout this as a huge loss for the developer community, it may not be as bad as it sounds if you think a bit beyond the announcement.
Neither Paul or I had been hearing much about Astoria (although Paul had heard from a source that it was dead yesterday and this new statement confirms his information) or Island Wood (the iOS bridge project) since its initial announcement, although the Facebook app recently released may have used Island Wood but Facebook isnt saying, which is never a good sign in the world of Microsoft. But if you think about it, do they really need bridges for both iOS and Android?
There are very few Android only apps in the marketplace at this time, the majority of apps are on both iOS and Android. If Microsoft found that it was easier to port iOS apps than Android apps, do they really need the Android bridge too? It would seem logical to put all resources into the better bridge since nearly all apps are on both iOS and Android which makes having two bridge a bit redundant.
That reasoning is a bit of logical speculation but if you can think of a reason why both need to exists, I’d love to hear it.
For now, Astoria may be a tool of the past but it Microsoft did say that Island Wood is still on track. Aside from the embarrassment of not living up to a public goal, this likely won’t have too much of an impact on the development of apps for the Windows Stores.