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Microsoft encouraging Android-to-Windows 10 app ports via Cortana notifications

Surface Pro Microsoft Store
Surface Pro Microsoft Store (Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft is using the Cortana notification sync feature in Windows 10 to add a "request app" feature if the notification comes from an Android smartphone.

The notifications were first spotted by Reddit user "MrPromaster'. The "Request app" link goes to a UserVoice page where anyone can recommend that an app be added to the Windows Store.

This new method to encourage more Android apps to come to the Windows Store comes several months after Microsoft officially canceled its "Project Astoria" bridge tool plans that would have made it easier for developers to port Android apps to Windows 10.

Notification syncing between Android and Windows 10 is currently only available for those running Insider builds of 'Redstone'.

While the notifications are configurable on Android the request is rather nondiscriminatory too. For instance, we had the request feature show up for the Google Play store after it performed some app updates. Likewise for Shazam, even though there already is a Shazam for Windows 10 app available. While this tactic is not a slam dunk to get more apps to Windows 10, it is a rather clever move to reach the millions of Android users who also use a Windows PC every day.

We'll have to wait and see how well this new strategy pays off once the Windows 10 Anniversary Update rolls out later this summer to the masses.

89 Comments
  • Project Astoria was for phones and this about getting Android apps for PC right?
  • Developing app for Windows 10 desktop in UWP males it very easy to then put that same app on Mobile so this notification will benefit mobile as well. Posted from my Lumia 950
  • Exactly
  • Doesn't seem the same to me though. Many apps made for pc aren't available for mobile. Fb and messenger apps are an example. It all depends on the developer if they port their app to pc only or include mobile too. And this is option to request for pcs Lumia 730 DS, Windows 10 Mobile.
  • They will bring those apps to the phone just as soon as they make them stable. I ran the FB Messenger (beta) for a few days but my phone ran super hot whilst it was running and it performed terribly. It's in no state to be released - but it will be one day.
  • Not to mention those apps were built with OSmeta - Facebook's proprietary porting tool - not Visual Studio, which I assume has something to do with these apps not properly supporting Continuum and which might make it not so simple to port to mobile as would be the case otherwise.
  • An app written for PC or Mobile can be made to run on either platform. You'd think with all your negative commenting you would have picked up on that fact by now.
  • In theory yes, if the developer sees the need to target dead platform with no users. Astoria: No effort for devs to get app to windows phones. New mastermind plan: Try to get devs to target PC which has not shown any promise on app front yet and then maybe maybe app or 2 slips to mobile as well. Not that I'm totally convinced that Astoria would have been right path instead of all in investment to mobile OS & hardware.
  • And a reply with hyperbolic negativity. I guess logic and facts are useless to you.
  • Oh sorry didn't see it was our favorite whiner, I wouldn't have interrupted, please go on.
  • Astoria was an interesting concept, but it only worked for phones, and apparently the Android Runtime caused W10M to get progressively slower over time as it built up all kinds of junk. This was partially to blame for why early Insider Previews were so damn sluggish and slow. That, and since it was just emulating apps: It would do nothing to persuade developers to actually build apps for Windows Phone/Mobile or take advantage of native features like Live Tiles, or target the desktop. I think an Android equivalent of Project Islandwood would make more sense in the long-run, giving developers the tools to help port their Android code into native UWP apps.
  • Hello Ass Hat!
  • I don't think you know what "dead" means. You spend a lot of time hanging around to bash something you think has no relevance. That seems kind of insane.
  • You know nothing about software development. Just stop.
  • For UWP
  • Why is it ass hats like DJCBS and vhyr (still think they are the same ass hat) only post comments on this type of news.... where are these angry bitter little people when apps get released... Inquiring minds want to know...
  • Nah, they can't be the same person because DJ's ego wouldn't let him pose as anyone but himself. He has a reputation to maintain after all. ;-) No, I imagine the two of them hold hands and go off to Sony/Nokia Land so they can chat about two companies who are significantly less successful than Microsoft as a whole while they wait to post on articles that don't thoroughly negate their usual "points."
  • You have a good point, but if he/she was trollish enough to do two accounts with two email addresses, they could pull it off
  • Oh, I know how it can be done but some trolls have their pride.
  • Without Project Astoria I don't think app requests will help.
  • Maybe. On the other hand, Microsoft does not tick off and alienate it's relationship with actual Windows developers.
  • That's a fair point. But Astoria in its pre cancelled iteration was bad but I do feel that without any way to port Android to Windows the developers just won't bother. Astoria pre canning as you know wasn't a port.
  • iOS is typically considered to have a larger and higher quality App Store/selection than Android/Google Play, so at least Islandwood let's us benefit from that. Microsoft really just needs to make an Islandwood equivalent for Android.
  • no thank you we don't need half assed apps keep islandwood and let that be it. Chances are if the app is on Play Store and not in iTunes its irrelevant
  • Agree with the fact that the Astoria bridge was just crap. It was a JVM implementation on W10M. That is not proting. More like emulation. Good riddance. However, I feed that the majority of the Android apps have an iOS implementation as well and the Islandwood bridge is looking good.
  • "That is not proting. More like emulation." That's actually exactly what it was. It wasn't a port like Islandwood where it gets converted into a native UWP, but rather it was an Android VM. So it meant one could easily sideload Android apps and have them run for the most part, but that of course brought the baggage of Android along with it. It wasn't an elegant solution, I think it's best they killed it.
  • Most of these devs *also* make an iOS version, and they may have mobile web sites. Microsoft's iOS and web bridges would be applicable in either case to accelerate bringing an app to Windows. There is no need to start with the Android code. Astoria was too limited anyway, as it offered no way to target Windows tablets and laptops.
  • Why wouldn't they bother making Windows 10 apps if there are hundreds of millions of Windows 10 users? They wouldn't bother for mobile maybe, but they would for desktop, and with UWP, making an app for desktop covers both desktop and mobile.  So mobile wins.
  • No,  Microsoft ticks off it's relationships with its clients...i.e.  Consumers. 
  • Of course it would help if they got, say, some million requests.
  • I don't know. I mean look at SnapChat. Got some thirty five thousand requests on their request platform support site IIRC. They just shut it down and still didn't make the app. So I'm not convinced.
  • Snapchat isn't really a good example to compare with, unless Bank of America, et al., received a comperable number of requests.
  • SnapChat doesn't count. The "no way in Hell" attitude of the CEO means anything Microsoft is ignored.
  • It still leaves me jaded in that I think it'll set a precedent for other companies to do the same. I hope it doesn't set said precedent though.
  • There's hundreds of thousands of other apps out there besides SnapChat that people want too. 
  • Hundreds of thousands...? Sent from my Lumia 930
  • Considering its userbase.   That is a miniscule number to develop an app for.  I am still on the windows OS,  just on my surface.  For phone,  I have moved on.  I first thought,  who cares,  the net has everything that you do...without the need for apps...but the more I think about it,  apps for surface type devices,  and the entry level notebooks with small storage space,  Apps are really important.  i know with my surface I have about 20gb of space left,  and I store all files on SD card.
  • You will get any apps from anti-MS dev period. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • One intersting update on build 361 is the addition of containers on Win 10. Google plans to run Android apps in a container on Chrome OS, would a container in Windows be handle Android app someday?
  • You know, I wasn't aware of that (I've dropped out of Insider, so I run general release builds), sounds like it could be really useful. But we'd just get Android apps then that haven't been repackaged for Windows then. So would that be what we want? I understand beggars can't be choosers but still, won't people just still go to the Android phone for that?
  • Android Tumblr runned flawlessly on my 920. I don't care about anything else tbh. Sent from 5 Sim Lane, in Neighborhood 1.
  • Why do they need Astoria? Most of these Android apps have an iOS version which can be ported through that bridge instead. There is still an easy path for most apps on Android to get onto Windows 10.
  • Because no one who used Astoria would use an app that was also released on ios
  • Well played, Microsoft
  • Wasn't aware of this feature! I trust we'll be able to sync Windows 10 Mobile notifications to Windows 10 too?
  • Yes we can
  • Niiiiice.
  • nice idea it engages the user to the developer. Same kind ethos as the windows insiders but now requesting direct to the developer I want your app.
  • I wish I had an android now just so I could make the requests like this, I guess I'll just have to stick to the user voice website, sad times....
  • You can just go to the page we linked and do it that way, the requests aren't actually tied to the exact app notification.
  • Yeah I know, it's just you know.... New things are cool!
  • Well theres always bluestalks
  • So we should all obtain a cheap android device, install Cortana and then install all the apps we would like and request them for Windows. I wonder if this would work on bluestacks.
  • Just go to the page we linked and do it there. It's super generic, not tied to the app.
  • If only you are in the US. Cortana and Microsoft Health and who knows what else, is still not available on the Play Store, here in India. I tried side loading cortana onto my android spare, it just kept crashing. Via Lumia 640
  • Bluestalks
  • That's not bad. However, I think they need to automate that. I could see many folks seeing that, clicking it, going to the page, and going "I don't have time for this junk." If they could just have the click automate the vote, then ship those requests to developers, it'd be a great idea.
  • I definitely agree, better automation for this needed. For the longest time I skipped anything having to do with User Voice, because of the need to create yet another account for yet another service. I finally caved, and discovered signing up was disturbingly too easy. (No password by default? I thought this was 2016...) Also, doesn't this setup depend on the devs not only bothering to look at User Voice to check how many app requests they are racking up--but also that they should look at User Voice to begin with?
  • You dont actually need to create a UserVoice account. Even anonymous votes count
  • Lol it's sad that we've gone from stuff like ie website reporting tool to a badly thought out tool like this
  • What a clever way to give customers an easy method to request access to the same apps across platforms.
  • Too bad Cortana is not available in the Play Store in Belgium and neither is it available on my Dutch Windows 10 Pro copy :) Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Same here mate, unavailable on amdroid on India, though available on windows though Via Lumia 640
  • I like this approach.
  • A step in the right direction.
  • I really want Comixology. That's my W10 white whale.
  • Now do Windows (mobile) fans complaining about this coming to Android at the same time as Windows get it?
  • huh?
  • whats that dismiss button for?
  • To dismiss the notification? I think. Posted with the Windows Central app for Windows 10 on HP 250 G1 notebook. It is a scary old monster, I think :D
  • When all else fails, ask nicely.
  • Hmm, seems like there really is not app gap between Android and Windows store, according to what people really needs by this site. Snapchat, Youtube, Clash of Clans. I had everything I needed since WP7.x.
  • Banking apps are a problem for some. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • We should have this request feature on phones whenever a site tried to direct us to the Google Play Store.
  • Lol better idea then trapping those requests to blindly searching WS like it does
  • Blaq Face10 Full functioning BBM Inst10 SuperTube Neutron definitely Parrot
  • I didn't understand before, why they stick to android notification sync. But you know what? This way, it can even be useful for us, W10M fans as well :D
  • Lol. Loving this agressive side of Microsoft....hopefully it works just like "Upgrade to Windows 10 now".
  • Why would this "request app" thing be agressive? :D Posted with the Windows Central app for Windows 10 on HP 250 G1 notebook. It is a scary old monster, I think :D
  • I hope not. The GWX App was a nightmare. MS resorted to some dirty tactics try and get users who don't want windows 10 on their system to download it. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • As far as controlling which apps get synced notifications, on my Lollipop phone Cortana lets me toggle notifications for each individual app, but there is no such option on my KitKat phone.
  • For starters, if we can get STRAVA, Major League Soccer, Direct TV and Time Warner Cable I'd be a happy camper along with many others.
  • If anybody was curious like me, SM-G930A as shown in the image refers to AT&T Galaxy S7
  • I haven't seen these kinds of notifications yet, and I'm on insider fast ring as well as Cortana on android. Anything I should do to enable them?
  • Notification sync between w10m and android (from w10m to android) required so we can get notification on connected android wear too
  • They promised to converge both the pc and mobile platforms, but it's still different.. And will always be..
  • It's the same OS. Same thing Ubuntu did. It's the same code with a different look. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • MS just loves feedback... And that's it..maybe its related proportionally to their paychecks..
  • The subtle interoperability approach worked for them before... Wordperfect, Lotus 123, etc.