Microsoft May Use OpenMobile’s Application Compatibility Layer To Run Android Apps On Windows?

We have come across few reports in the past that Microsoft is working on the next version of Windows codenamed Threshold that can run Android apps without any modification. Hal Berenson, a former Microsoft employee recently published a blog post on current state of Windows/Windows Phone and how Microsoft may move with the upcoming major release. In that post, Hal said that Microsoft might be depending on OpenMobile’s Application Compatibility Layer to enable Android apps on Windows. ACL does not use any virtualization or emulation techniques, instead it integrates the Android application runtime into native Windows.

OpenMobile’s solution uses the Android open source project (AOSP) app management software as the base for ACL. Utilizing the Dalvik virtual machine and all required Android runtime libraries from AOSP, ACL will enable Android apps on any non-Android operating system, including Windows.

Even though enabling Android apps on Windows will further alienate developers from developing native apps for Windows, this move should save Microsoft from becoming irrelevant in the smart devices world where Android is currently dominating. If Android apps compatibility brings more users to the Windows platform, then the developers may be forced to develop a high performance native app for Windows.

Hal’s commented the following this strategy,

So the strategy of running Android apps on Windows Phone is risky, but when you have 3% market share how much risk is it really?  And to be clear, closing the app gap is not all that it will take to grow Windows Phone’s market share.  But failure to close the app gap certainly dooms the platform.

What do you think?

Source: Hal2020, ACL

About the author  ⁄ pradeep

Pradeep, a Computer Science & Engineering graduate.

  • NitzMan

    Well firstly it muddies the UX as Android apps don’t adhere to the same paradigm as Windows apps. I don’t see Microsoft implementing this. Blackberry did this, but it surely didn’t help their market share.

    Over and above that, AOSP is still using Dalvik as opposed to the much more performant ART. So even in the Android world, the experience would be considered inferior.

    I think Microsoft should just rely on Universal Apps to aid in garnering market share. Otherwise they might as well drop Windows and support Android 100%.

    If Microsoft chooses to go the Android route, I’m ditching it all and going back to Apple.

    • otacon1k

      Android apps could help Windows tablets share. If it helps desktop Windows probably it could help mobile devices and os.

      • dolco

        There is possibility to install android app on Windows (PC or Tablet). Nobody cares! Nobody is buying Windows for android apps and nobody is buying BB devices for android apps.

        • otacon1k

          There is no OFFICIAL possibility to install android apps. You are a person who read tech sites and know something about computers. Standard person dosent know that. Microsoft have to officialy implement that feature in his os and makes big commercial which say “Buy Windows, do work in office and enjoy android apps”

          • dolco

            Well, BB has OFFICIAL possibility to install android apps and only effect is that it lost developers of native apps. Very sad…

      • pdouglas

        When has supporting a competitors’ apps, ever boosted a platform? Has it worked for Blackberry? Has it worked for Linux desktop, trying to support the running of Windows apps? Did it work for OS/2? Not even Apple supporting the running of Windows on Macs, has managed to increase Mac’s worldwide market share appreciably. This is a fantasy that is simply not supported by history.

        • otacon1k

          I dont know what it looks in another countries but here in Poland blackberry was always a niche. About linux… Have you ever seen Linux devices in store? If yes probably it’s small ammount. As i said most people arent good in technology and computers. Its the greatest group of buyers and they want to buy computer and relax not instal linux :). About macs…i dont sure that windows support on apples devices not increase market share. In east europe most universities , office, banks, ligistics, shops are working on windows… I can wrong but its about 80% and more. Apples devices are good and most rich people buy it but if i were boss of small company i won’t buy if it dosen’t support windows.

          • NitzMan

            Android has the largest market share, while Apple’s iOS is sitting at about 16% globally. However, iOS is a far more lucrative platform than Android. Reasons for this vary from a wealthier user base to a superior user experience. This proves the point that you don’t need maximum market share to be successful. Windows Phone will grow as Microsoft refines the experience.

            Microsoft has the best development platform and I’ve used all. From an ecosystem perspective, they’re second to none. So what if Silicon Valley ignores the platform, it’s our duty as a community to drive the platform to the point where is can’t be ignore. This can be done by building high-quality exclusive apps.

        • VHMP01

          Also with MACs running Windows users have to pay for both; OSX within the Hardware Price, and a Windows licence itself.

    • henry6135

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    • http://memento.postach.io/ KshaH

      Yea.. Blackberry is the best example

      • jasonbxx

        Microsoft will never use OpenMobile’s ACL because it is a fraud and vaporware — It has been advertising since 2011 but no actual results on actual devices have been shown!

    • henry6135

      Maria . you think Leonard `s storry is inconceivable,last thursday I bought a great Alfa Romeo from having made $4878 this last five weeks and-even more than, 10-k this past-munth . this is certainly the coolest job I have ever had . I began this 9-months ago and almost immediately began to make more than $75 per-hour . Anybody can make money easily her. To make money click FINANCIAL REPORT in ——– web site———WARPJOBS.COM

  • Mythos88

    If Microsoft gives up on Windows Phone then I will too. But I won’t be going with Android or wannabe Android, I would switch to iPhone.

  • NegLewis

    Microsoft has – HAS – MONO.
    Microsoft has Visual Studio – witch it’s the best IDE for fast developing & debug of any app – small large or extra-large.
    Visual Studio can be used to write apps from C/C++ -> F, B… C#… Java. for ARM, x86/x64… Windows for Intel or Windows for ARM

    Just allow Android devs to write apps FOR android using Visual Studio – FOR FREE.
    Visual Studio for Android should cost $0.

    BUT – MS should allow devs to compile SAME app for Android and for Windows…

    • DW

      Yes, MS has underplayed cross-platform development for some time. It’s time they should boost this whole area – great development tools to make it simple to deploy Apps on iOS, Android and Windows.

      • k00ksta

        Have you people not heard of Xamarin?

  • deathdealer351

    Im pretty sure this is gonna happen at this point. I dont think it is MS giving up on the platform its just the reality.

    They are following the mac model you can run windows on mac through parallels has it hurt mac sales. I would argue not really, has it helped mac sales? well maybe. I think the iphone has done the best for mac sales than running windows apps on mac. However if there is that 1 app you cannot live without but you really want to try mac for something else – iphone integration, so you don’t look like a weirdo at Starbucks with your surface 3, you like a glowing apple on the back of your monitor (who doesn’t right), and you like to spend $1500 on a premium device that has no detachable screen or touch screen. Then Mac is for you. But that 1 app enter parallels. Is it perfect no does it do the needful yes.

    This is where windows phone running android apps can come in handy. HOWEVER with mac there is another driving force behind the purchase. The app situation is secondary. With windows phone they need that. They need i want windows phone because i need to —- but the 1 app.. OH i can run android compatibility mode. Unlike mac i dont see windows having anything major to offer (other than its not your dads,bosses, or wife’s lovers phone of choice)

    • dolco

      Very wrong example. “Apples” and oranges…

    • pdouglas

      Bottom line: has the ability to run Windows on Macs increased the Mac’s world wide market share appreciably? The answer is no. So not only will running Android apps on Windows Phone likely not improve its market share, it will alienate enthusiasts and developers, which are the two constituents who are vital for a new platform to take off.

    • NitzMan

      You clearly have no idea what you’re talking about. You’re comparing virtualization to the support of a foreign runtime. The Mac’s global market share is lower than that of Windows Phone – statistical fact.

      Android is a plague that should stay off the Windows platform. If you feel that you’d much rather use Android, then get an Android device. Windows can’t be all things to all people, so if it’s not for you, move on.

    • Mythos88

      Many would just not bother building Windows Phone versions anymore as they would just direct users to install their Android version and Windows Phone would die a slow death.

  • robertwade

    Dumbest statement of the day: “If Android apps compatibility brings more users to the Windows platform, then the developers may be forced to develop a high performance native app for Windows.” No, they won’t. If they don’t have to write actual Windows Phone apps, they won’t. If Microsoft does this, you can kiss Windows Phone as we know it goodbye. It’s as simple as that.

  • Cameliosso

    Openmobile ACL ? This as a never-ending vaporware. It was destined to run android apps on Bada OS, and never came into fruition. Besides, even if it is real, it claims it uses dalvik, which is now obsolete for Android L development. No future for that project I’m afraid.

  • jasonbxx

    OpenMobile ACL is a fraud. They have been advertising since 2011 about putting up an Application Compatibility Layer yet until now they haven’t show an working products on “real” smartphones or tablets. All they show are PDF’s which anyone can make. At least they should prove that I am wrong by show their ACL running on Windows Phone first!!! Three years is a long time!!! Even ConsoleOS has already showed some progress!!!

  • Jeff Hung

    Google has been working hard to make official Android as different from AOSP as possible. The ultimate goal might be like OSX and Darwin – yes, most of the foundation are common and open sourced, but no one can clone an OSX platform from Darwin.
    Given the trend, there will be fewer and fewer Android apps can survive without Google Play services. It already becomes a obstacle for Amazon’s Fire OS: Android developers have to replace everything involves Google Play services with Amazon’s counterpart in order to port an app to Fire OS.
    Porting AOSP on top of Windows might make some sense two years ago, but not now. Microsoft should work on promoting their own framework, instead of using a subpar, and now crippled framework to attract some amateur developers who always complain about restrictions because of the lack of system security sense.

  • Avatar Roku

    Supporting a competing platforms apps has never helped any platform to succeed.

  • Moe

    People buy smartphones for a lot of reasons, among them for the apps,
    in reality for each person there are less than 100 apps that are truly important (except games), for example those for your local bank, cinema, public transit etc.
    Those companies can’t justify the development of an app for a market share of 3 – 5 % and i really think Microsoft did try to sway them in but just couldn’t finance the development of all apps for all those local companies all around the world that wouldnt develop for WP. The decision to allow android apps only for some very important special apps they’ve already tried to sway in but couldn’t do sound like a good idea to overcome the app gap, not the perceived one but the functional gap.

  • dave

    The Windows phones is completely irrelevant, 99.9% zombie apps, pointless to pursue further, hopefully we get Windows 9 Phone (x86 based), not Windows Phone 9, I feel bad for all the nokia people who had to pay for this mistake of a product! and for the love of god please no Windows Phone One!

    • NitzMan

      You’re not too bright. Freedom of speech should end just before they get to you.