The overwhelming majority of smartphones on the market today are powered by Android or iOS, but it wasn’t long ago that Microsoft was in the game with Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile.
Windows 10 Mobile was Microsoft’s last attempt to gain traction with a smartphone operating system. It offered a distinctive Live Tile interface, a desktop mode for external displays, and support for universal Windows apps.
Unfortunately, the Achilles Heel for Microsoft’s latest mobile OS continued to be a lack of apps compared to Android and iOS. This would be a significant contributing factor to the platform’s demise, but did you know that Microsoft was in the advanced stages of bringing Android app support to Windows 10 Mobile?
Microsoft initially developed multiple software “bridges” for Windows 10 Mobile, with the purpose of helping developers easily port their apps from legacy Windows, iOS, and Android. The first two bridges, dubbed Project Islandwood and Project Centennial and designed for porting iOS and Windows, respectively, actually saw the light of day.
The third bridge, dubbed Project Astoria, was unfortunately pulled from Windows 10 Mobile ahead of its commercial release. However, the Android sub-system was available on preview builds of the then-new operating system, giving users an idea of what to expect.
It’s one thing to facilitate easier porting of apps from one platform to another, but Project Astoria and the associated sub-system was a little more advanced. The project actually made it possible for end-users to install Android apps on their phones too. To do so, you needed to enable developer mode on your phone running the Windows 10 Mobile preview, install the APK2W10M internal app on your PC, connect your phone to the PC, and then deploy the desired app.
Preview builds of Windows 10 Mobile allowed you to