Microsoft is said to be working on a system to run Android apps inside of Windows 10. Dubbed “Project Latte” the apps would run inside a stand-alone subsystem built by Microsoft and use the Windows MSIX Modification Package format but still be built using the same Android codebase. And it will almost certainly be a huge disappointment.
At first, the idea of heading to the Windows Store to grab your favourite Android apps so you can use them on something like a good Windows 2-in-1 sounds really nice. But think about that some more — what Android apps do you really want or need on Windows that you don’t already have or can’t get a better experience using a full-blown desktop web browser?
Those limitations are a big hurdle. Think about the one killer app you use on your phone for a moment, one you use multiple times a day, every day. Now imagine it with half its functionality removed and replaced by something different. That’s what has to happen when you “de-Google” an Android app built for Google-Play, where features like notifications, automatic updates, data backups, cloud connectivity and so much more are built using Google Play Services. If doing that were easy, Huawei would still be jostling with Samsung as the top phone maker in the world.
It’s possible that Microsoft can work up a set of APIs that are as good or better than what Google has done. Microsoft knows how to write software. But let’s say it does write its own set of service APIs. Then what? For starters, developers would have to be willing to completely rewrite their apps using these new APIs then drop them into the Windows Store and have an entirely different app to support. Companies that are most willing to do that, like Facebook or Hulu for example, have a web interface that’s better than the Android app offers (see above).
Most Android developers aren’t going to bother to support yet another version of their apps.
Next, many Android apps require you to have some sort of always-on connection to use. That’s fine for a desktop that’s connected all day long or a new Windows laptop with a cellular modem inside, but all the rest of the computers running Windows 10 would be left out. That means developers also have to prohibit those machines from installing the app or be OK with delivering a shoddy experience for a whole lot of people.
The biggest reason I’m sure Android apps on Windows isn’t going to be a good thing is that I already know what running phone apps on a big screen is like. So does everyone else that uses a Chromebook and has Android apps installed.
Some apps are awesome and have been redesigned for the big screen experience. Most just work but leave a lot to be desired in the app layout and user experience. Some don’t work at all. And this is on a system that does use all of Google’s APIs and Google Play Services the same way a phone does.
This content was originally published here.