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Google's Flutter introduces support for Windows apps, uniting them with Android, iOS, Linux, and more

Google Flutter
Google Flutter (Image credit: Google)

What you need to know

  • Google's Flutter now supports building applications for Windows.
  • Flutter is a cross-platform development tool that can also target Android, iOS, Linux, and the web.
  • Multiple teams from Microsoft worked together with Google to help Flutter support Windows.

Google announced a major update to Flutter, its open-source framework that allows developers to share code across multiple platforms. Flutter 2.10's most significant addition is that it brings stable support for Windows apps in Flutter. As a result, developers can make desktop applications in Flutter while also targeting Android, iOS, Linux, and the web.

Google notes that developing apps with desktops and PCs in mind is different than making mobile apps. Computers have wider screens and more input methods than smartphones. Apps on PCs also use different APIs than those running on Android or iOS. Because of these facts, Google had to optimize Flutter for Windows.

Flutter combines a Dart framework and a C++ engine to support Windows, which is similar to how it is built to support Android and iOS.

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Google Flutter

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Multiple teams from Microsoft contributed to Flutter being able to target Windows. Google specifically highlights the Fluent design team's contribution of iconography. Microsoft's Visual Studio supports a Dart extension, which also helped the project.

Kevin Gallo, the corporate vice president for Windows Developer Platform at Microsoft, shared his thoughts on Flutter's support of Windows:

We're delighted to see Flutter adding support for creating Windows apps. Windows is an open platform, and we welcome all developers. We're excited to see Flutter developers bring their experiences to Windows and also publish to the Microsoft Store. Flutter support for Windows is a big step for the community, and we can't wait to see what you'll bring to Windows!

Several development tools will support Windows as well, including FlutterFlow, Realm, Rive, Syncfusion, and Nevercode.

As of today, there are over 500,000 Flutter apps in the Google Play Store, including apps from BMW, ByteDance (the makers of TikTok), and Google. Flutter is the most popular cross platform framework, according to multiple surveys cited by Google.

One example of a new Windows Flutter app (cited by Google) can already be found on GitHub. Harmonoid is a native 1:1 YouTube Music client with a mini-Window mode and MPV based music playback.

Flutter was initially launched on Windows in alpha in September 2020.

You can read more about Flutter for Windows on the announcement page, which goes into greater detail for developers.

Sean Endicott
Sean Endicott

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

12 Comments
  • Forgive my ignorance but is this a competitor or complimentary service to Xamarin (I know Xamarin is .Net focused)?
  • Competitor. Flutter uses Google Dart programming language, while Xamarin is C#. Xamarin is way bigger (and a larger community), but Flutter is growing rapidly. They both solve similar problems for devs, but from different starting points.
  • Daniel explained it well. I'd add that while they compete with each other, the end result is more apps for Windows users, which is great. Microsoft is pushing the openness of Windows these days.
  • Also more apps for Google upcoming fuchsia os.
  • Hey Daniel!
    I'm really happy to see my app on this page. I love reading Windows news here!
  • RIP xaramin. Flutter is growing faster that even Google convincing Microsoft to help, clever Google 👏
  • That's a stupid comment. Xamarin is already deprecated in favor of MAUI. It missed the .NET 6 rollout but middle of this year it should debut; therefore, putting Xamarin on a 2 year notice. MAUI is the successor to Xamarin. It is also important to note that its C# and XAML with native hooks to iOS and Android for custom integrations.
  • @Abdul NJ Here it comes retarded Google fanboy who talks nonsense like "Google is better than Microsoft". You don't know anything about programming language, better not talking about it.
  • Any developers here who can speak to the maturity and and functionality compared with React Native? I know at one point we selected it over Xamarin (because Xamarin's libraries were too immature and lacked a lot of the core functions that were available in React Native) and we even converted some older Flutter code to React Native to consolidate. But there are times where we've been frustrated with React Native. I'd love to hear from anyone on this, even if it's just a subjective opinion. I do see Flutter turning up in discussions more and more lately.
  • Oh hell yeah! Gonna look in to that music player in the picture.
    Since the new Media Player on Windows overwrote Groove and it's absolutely awful.
    Been using Dopamine 3 but it's not that great plus obviously discontinued.
  • What about Microsoft's Maui. Net? Is that dead now?
  • Its coming soon , in the end all of these are good for end users