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Microsoft Rumored To Integrate Android Apps

Soulskill posted about 8 months ago | from the admitting-defeat dept.

Microsoft 189

phmadore writes "Windows Phone has been struggling for market share, largely due to a serious lack of developers willing to invest their time in what one might consider a niche market. Statistically speaking, Android has more than 1.1M apps to Windows Phone's 200,000+. Well, according to unnamed sources informing the Verge, Microsoft may soon integrate/allow Android applications into both Windows and Windows Phone." This follows the recent debate over whether Microsoft should try to fork Android. Peter Bright made the point that doing so would be extremely difficult, and probably not worth Microsoft's time. Ben Thompson has an insightful post about how Microsoft's real decision is whether to focus on devices or services.

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Just 1 Anonymous Coward (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46231013)

Dear Slashdot User,

Speaking for myself as AC but reflecting on everything.

This comment is about Beta and the revolt. If you're not interested do move on, sorry for the brief interruption and Thanks.

I'll start by saying surely there's folk bothered by the anti-beta floods. I apologize if it's frustrated anyone who wants normal discussion flow. The fact is there's some of us who feel (super) passionate about this drastic redesign. Nerd or Don Juan, whatever [buzzword that describes you]...it would take a lobotomized sociopath to not even feebly feel something unsettling about the yanking of the historic roots of this site we call slashdot.org. Whether 1997 or 2006 or 2010 was your first time around these woods... there's much to admire and appreciate.

My bias is that I am 101% anti-beta on all points including ease of use, functionality & decimation of dense threaded discussion. It's ugly and hideous to me on so many levels. I could go on with a list UI details, I'll push that aside for now.

What I'm here to say is that as unprecedented as Slashdot's rise was - equally unprecedented is the scene unfolding in the altslashdot/slashcott movement. For or against, let's pause to admit this truth.

I feel what needs acknowledgement of the anti-beta movement is the validity of our own emotions here. I think the most passionate grew up with this site thru many phases of their lives. It's not just about the news business. I view Slashdot as an unprecedented cultural icon. A bizarre and intriguing global public forum - delivered to us reliably at every request direct to our private, personal computers.

-From trolls to flamewars to humor to all the memes, prose & poetry, robot crap-flooding to real intelligent valuable discussion and debate-
(If there was all of 1, it wouldn't work. It was that they all got to play)

Don't let what some call "immature" anti beta flooding fog your perception of the movement that is altslashdot. We are 150 strong in the channel and rising. We are busy resurrecting a dusty time machine that is the Slashcode from a long, ill-destined slumber. In all ~16 years of this site's unprecedented growth and dull drifting into "irrelevance" - can you say the community has ever been this ignited? This united?

I watch Facebook and Google+ destroy persona. I watch Google+ destroy old Google. I watch numerous sites redesign into turgid-with-whitespace messes. For some reason, the decimation of old Slashdot kicks me the in gut harder than the lamest trends of 3.0 and SOME lame things of 2.0.

I'm not saying I have all the answers. I have questions, too. Malda, how could you leave your dear creation in such apparently heavily corporate non-community minded hands? Why not some sort of not-for-profit to keep operational? Anything to at least let it operate with self-respect and not have to morph into something so ugly that is Beta. Oh well, I'm not a tycoon how would I know.

Maybe it's just the last straw for some of us. I believe altslashdot of many things goes beyond Slashdot itself and represents the intangible kicked-in-the-stomach feelings of many as the Internet changes over time - in this case not for the better.

To conclude, disgust with Beta can be expressed in many shades of grey, black or white. A heroic and perilous historical movement is taking place, ##altslashdot being the core of its engine. We battle for our beliefs like never before in the face of a twisted, ugly monster (that is not only Beta itself the end product, but all that is that conceived its bastardly existence).

We are trying to launch a Slashdot of old into the modern world. Our mission is community and absence of pure profit driven design. There's no free lunch but Lord let there be potlucks!

And I encourage you to join not to support nor pan per say... but to simply witness an awesome part of history unfold. A rebirth. A reclamation.

It's not so much whether we fail or succeed. It's about believing in something with feeling strong enough to band together and take charge. It's a fight for control over all frustrations described hereto. It's about going out obnoxiously kicking and screaming. It's about stabbing into the unknown and believing in what we feel is right.

If we fall, splinter, fade to digital dust - so be it. If we succeed then it was meant to be.

Sincerely Thank you for reading... AND FUCK BETA


Using your web browser:
http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=##altslashdot [freenode.net]

http://sylnt.us/wiki [sylnt.us]

Re:Just 1 Anonymous Coward (2, Interesting)

roc97007 (608802) | about 8 months ago | (#46231109)

I'm wondering if slashdot should simply separate the server from the reader similar to what was done with Usenet News, and let the user community write their own interfaces?

Re:Just 1 Anonymous Coward (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46231259)

The fact is the interface worked just fine and didn't need drastic changing. It's not that the site needs a redesign and folks are arguing over how. It's that Dice nuts is butchering everything for revenue and nothing else. They paid X for Slashdot and are not getting the X amount out of it they wanted - hence using only the prominence of the brand to whore out whatever "audience" they can attract the eyeballs of. The community be damned.

Re:Just 1 Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46232357)

The interface does not work just fine. A long time ago they ruined the commenting system by requiring me to slide things around with my mouse and click buttons just to see the whole thread.

Re:Just 1 Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46231421)

This is actually one of the proposed options for the new site. Pros: everyone can make it look like however they want. Cons: syncing identities and comments.

Re:Just 1 Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46231475)

If you know MVC patterns at all you could render the data anyway you want and have different interfaces drawing from the same library for calls to the database. I just think the discussion would be weird not everyone is seeing the density the same way. Just a guess. Beta is awful none the less.

Re: Just 1 Anonymous Coward (3, Interesting)

VTBlue (600055) | about 8 months ago | (#46231305)

Couldn't agree more

Re:Just 1 Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46231333)

MOD UP

Re:Just 1 Anonymous Coward (2)

laie_techie (883464) | about 8 months ago | (#46231465)

Unlike most protestors, you seem to have a brain. Thank you for a well thought out exposition of what the movement really means instead of just parroting "F Beta".

I haven't yet been switched to the new LAF, so I can't comment on Beta's strengths and short-comings. If people, like you, would say why it's bad instead of spouting profanity, maybe Dice will listen. The current theme does look like it's from the 1990s. I'm not saying that's a bad thing - I remember using Archie and Mosaic. It was a great time for a geek to grow up. Dice wants a return on its investment, so that means that current users need to unblock ads (and actually click on a few), or Dice needs to attract a new crowd that will.

Re:Just 1 Anonymous Coward (2, Interesting)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 8 months ago | (#46232055)

>The current theme does look like it's from the 1990s.

That's a good thing. Go look at Reddit; it looks even more like an interface from the 1990s, and it's excellent. No tons of bullshit whitespace, just lots of text packed in for those of us who are able to read and don't need a lot of stupid pictures and videos.

>so that means that current users need to unblock ads (and actually click on a few), or Dice needs to attract a new crowd that will.

Like Digg did? Oh wait, Digg died.

Meanwhile, Reddit doesn't bitch about users blocking ads, and they're doing excellent financially, with not one but two offices (one in SanFran, one in NYC).

Re:Just 1 Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46231619)

Mod parent up.

Re:Just 1 Anonymous Coward (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46231651)

Do us a favor and join the boycott.

the beta whiners are far worse than the beta.

Re: Just 1 Anonymous Coward (2)

macinnisrr (1103805) | about 8 months ago | (#46231745)

Shouldn't you be boycotting? I understand the anti-beta posts from last week, and the boycott, and altslashdot.org. I will certainly even visit it and sign up, but I at least hoped that this week I could enjoy Slashdot without the first post being another anti-beta rant. Well written, but off topic, and at this point ridiculous, as you all threatened to leave us as alone for a week. At this rate, you'll have a flourishing community on you new site, and STILL be trolling here long after it's no longer beta. Last week it wasn't irritating, it was even a bit inspiring. Now it's just stupid.

Re:Just 1 Anonymous Coward (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46231857)

would all you fucking anti-beta drama queens just fucking leave already? Tantrums only work on your parents, no one else give a fuck.

Re:Just 1 Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46231969)

In the case of this thread, I believe you are the tantrum thrower.

Re:Just 1 Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46231883)

APK figured out a way around the beta redirect (it works) http://games.slashdot.org/comm... [slashdot.org]

Security (3, Informative)

mrbill1234 (715607) | about 8 months ago | (#46231023)

If they can run Android apps with the same OS level security as iOS, and the same level of app vetting as the Apple App Store - they may be onto something.

Re:Security (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 8 months ago | (#46231147)

If they can run Android apps with the same OS level security as iOS, and the same level of app vetting as the Apple App Store - they may be onto something.

My guess: they'll run Android apps, but you'll need an anti-virus and all the usual crap to work around Windows' normal security flaws.

Besides which, who's going to buy a Windows tablet if they just want to run Android apps? They buy an OS to run apps, they don't buy apps to run on their OS.

Re:Security (3, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 8 months ago | (#46231485)

The majority of people buy the prettiest phone in the display case when they go to sign their contract. I know several people that "accidentally" got a windows phone recently and were surprised to find that all their old favorite games and such simply don't exist as far as their concerned now.

Re:Security (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 8 months ago | (#46231961)

With tablets, you don't get the option to buy a tablet, and then pick the OS that goes on there. You buy the whole package. If you want a tablet with a MicroSD slot, you can't run iOS. And, perhaps some people would like to run Windows apps, as well as Android Apps. Maybe it would be nice to have PowerShell, MS Office, and other Microsoft apps, as well as be able to play the Android versions of GTA or Minecraft. I picked the Surface over Android because I really liked the hardware, and the apps were sufficient. If it had the ability to run Android apps as well, I wouldn't have even had to consider getting and Android tablet.

Re:Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46231241)

Apple vet apps on their app store? They should try vetting harder.

Re:Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46232291)

I thought people who purchase IOS just sat and starred into the shinny apple on the back. it's the only feature that the competition lacks.

Re:Security (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46231277)

FYI, BlackBerry already does this, including the app vetting, if the devs submit their 'droid app to BB-World.

Going one better, the latest BB release allows install of 1Mobile and Amazon Appstores via .apk and gives access to GooglePlay via an add-on called Snap.

Re:Security (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46231509)

Isn't the Android platform security already better than iOS? As far as I know, there have been few exploits at platform level, but more related to apps asking for excess permissions and then using them. More app vetting is probably what makes the difference between Android and Apple, although most infections seem to come from unofficial marketplaces (= pirated apps).

Re:Security (2)

ewhac (5844) | about 8 months ago | (#46231527)

Security? On a Windows platform?

You must be new here.

Re:Security (1)

Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) | about 8 months ago | (#46232007)

My Surface 2 has yet to be hacked.

Re:Security (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46232285)

Maybe not yet, but just wait until you turn it on.

Re:Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46232297)

As the latest report of a Trojan vulnerability for iOS was just released.

Quit being a cheerleader just because you spent too much money on the same junk everyone else has..

Re:Security (1)

KingMotley (944240) | about 8 months ago | (#46231957)

Windows Phone obviously didn't have a high enough level of malware, so they are importing Android apps.

Re:Security (1)

rsborg (111459) | about 8 months ago | (#46232311)

If they can run Android apps with the same OS level security as iOS, and the same level of app vetting as the Apple App Store - they may be onto something.

Wait, isn't this what Amazon is trying to do with it's Amazon AppStore? How's that going, I wonder?

I see this as another attempt to EEE [1] - but that only works if the competition is weak or fragmented. Google is likely more than up to the challenge, and in fact, is likely instituting the same anticompetitive behavior that Microsoft does in the PC world (I've heard they force folks who want any Google apps to not run incompatible versions of Android or they can't run Google apps on any of their shipped sets - this is why Amazon has to do without Google apps - but you can side load them, IIRC).

While Microsoft is definitely the reigning champion of using this strategy, Google has grown up a lot recently (and hired a *lot* of former softies, too). This would be an epic match, but likely tilted in Google's favor for now.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46232317)

Where I think Microsoft could "overthrow" Android in this case is if Microsoft somehow figures out how to run Android software on a Windows Phone with a more secure, but less intrusive permission model.

iOS's model is pretty strong, Apps can't use what they're not allowed to use, end note. Android, not so. Microsoft Vista shows how NOT to implement security. The correct way is to double-double...

Double check on run:
a) Check that the binary has not changed, if it has confirm with the user they still want to run it (Done currently in OSX and Windows with a "this was downloaded from the internet.")
b) Check that that binary is not blacklisted in this version of the OS (eg software that is dangerous or using depreciated API's) and warn the user why.

Double check on API use
a) First attempt to use a restricted OS API (eg access outside the file system sandbox, SD cards, and USB-connected storage, internet)
b) First attempt to use a privacy reducing API/hardware (GPS, Camera, Microphone, WiFi, 3G/4G/LTE radio, Bluetooth devices, USB devices, Contact list) The device should be allowed to report "null" for all of these and have the software still operate without being given permission, even if the functionality is reduced.

Once whitelisted, no more nags are given to the user until either the app changes, or the app requests functionality it didn't previously need.

Numbers aren't the story (2, Insightful)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 8 months ago | (#46231027)

So MS has 20+% of the apps that Android has, that doesn't sound horrible. How many of those Android apps are garbage? The numbers aren't the whole story, if the 200k are much better quality than most of the 1.1M the Windows phone would win. I am not saying that is the case, just saying that comparing the number of apps in a store isn't useful information.

Wine for Windows? (1)

goombah99 (560566) | about 8 months ago | (#46231171)

So MS has 20+% of the apps that Android has, that doesn't sound horrible. How many of those Android apps are garbage? The numbers aren't the whole story, if the 200k are much better quality than most of the 1.1M the Windows phone would win. I am not saying that is the case, just saying that comparing the number of apps in a store isn't useful information.

Right, its like Fake Steve Jobs used to say "I'd rather have the 1% market that was the cream, than 99% of the crap.".

I find app stores annoying because there's too many copycat apps and too little info. You can't tell if its worth buying the expensive one or the free one. You can barely even screen a fraction of them when it's garden variety purpose.

But on a different tangent, it seems like this is effectively Wine for Windows. That is the API to run android apps in windows. I love the irony.

Re:Wine for Windows? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 8 months ago | (#46231253)

I'd rather have the 99%, because, well, no matter how you cut it, I'd be making a lot more money.

Windows devices running Android is, to my mind, the ultimate capitulation. It is a tacit admission than the Windows ecosystem is in a long term crisis.

The cut matters (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 8 months ago | (#46231343)

I'd rather have the 99%, because, well, no matter how you cut it, I'd be making a lot more money.

No, it does matter how you cut it. Currently Apple is making 87% of the profits in the mobile space, Samsung 30%...

The overage is the amount those two companies are taking money not just from consumers, but how much other companies are pouring money into a black hole.

And from a developer side the cut still matters, as you can still make a lot more income from iOS apps than Android despite there supposedly being a lot more Android devices people could run apps on.

Re:The cut matters (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 8 months ago | (#46231405)

Currently Apple is making 87% of the profits in the mobile space, Samsung 30%

Does not fempute.

Yes, it does (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 8 months ago | (#46231587)

I already said in the original message that other companies in the space are losing money. That's why the profits add up to more than 100% [appleinsider.com] .

Re:Yes, it does (4, Informative)

sexconker (1179573) | about 8 months ago | (#46232479)

That's not how it fucking works, lol. You even specified "profits" which makes even less sense. Profit is a fixed value of realized net gain. You can't have more than 100% of it, and you can't have less than 0% of it. You can't conflate Company B's LOSS with another's PROFIT to determine the MARKET's PROFIT. There's a reason we separate out PROFIT and LOSS.

Here's an example since I'm sure you still don't get it (you'll probably REFUSE to get it since you linked to appleinsider.com ).

Company A: $6 Profit
Company B: $4 Profit
Company C: $0 Profit/Loss
Company D: $5 Loss

Market X had a PROFIT of $10 AND a LOSS of $5 ACROSS Companies A, B, C, and D.
You never talk about a MARKET's Profit or Loss as a whole, you talk about its REVENUE, or its Profits ACROSS those Companies which were Profitable, and losses across those which bleeding.

Company A got 60% of the Profit, Company B got 40%.
Company D made up 100% of the Loss.
Company C broke even.

You absolutely do not fucking count it as $5 Profit across the Market with Company A getting 120% of the Profit and Company B getting 80% (and Company C getting -100%).
Profit is not a fucking vector. It is always positive. You cannot conflate Profit and Loss and flip the fucking sign.

So why do Apple shits like to report it this way? Because they're fucking morons who read a table and don't understand what the numbers mean, or they simply want to see Apple have a larger number so they purposefully concoct bullshit like this.

With 87% and 30%, assuming no other profitable players, you're really dealing with 74.36% and 25.64%.

Furthermore, your link says 56% and 53%, not 87% and 30%. With 56% and 53%, you're really dealing with 51.38% and 48.62%.

Re:Wine for Windows? (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 8 months ago | (#46231445)

It is a tacit admission than the Windows ecosystem is in a long term crisis.

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

Re:Numbers aren't the story (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 8 months ago | (#46231481)

A lot of those Windows Phone and Windows app store apps are just a for-pay app wrapper around somebody else's public website or data API. They are worth no more than a hyperlink. Sometimes less.

Re:Numbers aren't the story (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 8 months ago | (#46231641)

I see a lot of that same thing on Android apps too. The MS app store isn't the only one that has this problem. You'll also see that a lot of "website wrappers" simply don't exist as a Windows App. For instance, there is no YouTube app for Windows 8. But if you just go to to YouTube on the browser, it works perfectly fine. There's no need for and app in the first place. A lot of the missing apps that people complain about on Windows 8.1 are completely unnecessary because the websites just work, even on the WinRT version of the browser.

Re:Numbers aren't the story (2, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 8 months ago | (#46231545)

As someone who owns a Surface2, I have to say the app selection is pretty good. There isn't really much that I would want to go on my Surface that I can't do on it. Sure I can't play GTA on my Surface, but there are a lot of really decent games. 200,000 apps is actually quite a decent number when you think about it. No console has ever had that many different things you could run on it, and most people think there's enough software for consoles.

Re:Numbers aren't the story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46231835)

As someone who owns a Surface2, I have to say the app selection is pretty good. There isn't really much that I would want to go on my Surface that I can't do on it. Sure I can't play GTA on my Surface, but there are a lot of really decent games. 200,000 apps is actually quite a decent number when you think about it. No console has ever had that many different things you could run on it, and most people think there's enough software for consoles.

The trouble is it's competing against products that can run GTA (iOS).

Re:Numbers aren't the story (1)

HideyoshiJP (1392619) | about 8 months ago | (#46231989)

Grand Theft Auto [windowsphone.com] , you say?

Re:Numbers aren't the story (1)

abednegoyulo (1797602) | about 8 months ago | (#46232499)

if the 200k are much better quality

IF

Reverse Wine (1, Flamebait)

GerbilSoft (761537) | about 8 months ago | (#46231039)

I find it rather amusing that Microsoft has to resort to implementing what's basically a reverse Wine because no one cares enough about their platform to write "native" (read: HTML5) crapps for it.

Re:Reverse Wine (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46231113)

I find it more amusing that you seem to think a rumor is confirmed fact. And they wouldn't have to implement anything. They can simply license a third-party Dalvik implementation like Jolla does.

Re:Reverse Wine (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 8 months ago | (#46231559)

why would they need a third party one its apache licensed so they could fork main line dalvik?

Re:Reverse Wine (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 8 months ago | (#46231183)

Its amazing just how little actual knowledge people have of the stuff they hate - you can write Windows Phone and WinRT apps in C# and .Net.

Re:Reverse Wine (1)

GerbilSoft (761537) | about 8 months ago | (#46231347)

Perhaps, but considering MS has resorted to just creating website frontend "apps", that point is moot. http://www.theverge.com/2013/1... [theverge.com]

Re:Reverse Wine (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 8 months ago | (#46231847)

Right, because that isn't currently prevalent on either Android or iOS...

And they haven't resorted to creating "just" those things, they've been pushing a lot of high quality stuff to both the Windows Phone and Windows App stores.

Re:Reverse Wine (1)

GerbilSoft (761537) | about 8 months ago | (#46231875)

Not saying Android and iOS stores aren't full of crapp either, but MS is the only store "owner" to actively push worthless frontends as far as I know.

Statistically speaking (4, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 8 months ago | (#46231047)

Statistically speaking, Android has more than 1.1M apps to Windows Phone's 200,000+

Thanks for clarifying how you were speaking, or I would have no idea how to compare those two numbers!

Re:Statistically speaking (1)

CCarrot (1562079) | about 8 months ago | (#46231237)

Statistically speaking, Android has more than 1.1M apps to Windows Phone's 200,000+

Thanks for clarifying how you were speaking, or I would have no idea how to compare those two numbers!

I do not think that word means what they think it means...how is comparing two absolute numbers 'statistcally speaking'? That's not even enough data for a proper bell curve...

Perhaps what they really meant was 'comparatively speaking'? :)

Re:Statistically speaking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46231399)

Still isn't possible to compare those two numbers. One is a quantity and the other is a lower limit. With no upper limit 200,000+ that might mean that the Windows app store has 2M apps, we just can't tell.

Re:Statistically speaking (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | about 8 months ago | (#46232213)

Reminds me of this: http://xkcd.com/870/ [xkcd.com]

Don't think so.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46231053)

Too many apps rely on proprietary stuff from Google, the part from Android that is really OS is getting smaller and smaller every time Google adds an update. And if you want to get the latest stuff from Google you're on Google's terms, meaning you have to use the Play Store, Google as a search engine and everything that comes with it.

right, (3, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | about 8 months ago | (#46231055)

...because, this strategy worked so very well for Blackberry.

That said, I can't think of a reason why Microsoft should not integrate Android applications, provided the results gives some reasonable user experience. I suspect that "supporting" Android applications where the user has to put up with significant numbers of crashes and hangs, rendering errors, screen geometry issues and so forth would actually hurt the platform further.

Re:right, (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 8 months ago | (#46231285)

It ultimately depends on how well it's done. Blackberry's compatibility layer sucks sufficiently that it was never seen as a competitor to Android. Microsoft certainly has the resources to pull it off, but I suspect they will run up against the same issue that BB did, and that is that if you make the compatibility too good, you end up simply damaging your own ecosystem and handing control of your hardware platform over to your biggest competitor.

Re:right, (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#46231435)

The trick with 'Android compatibility' is that it's really two different problems. One is merely engineering ('merely' in the 'may actually be quite difficult; but there are engineers that are quite smart, trying giving them money' sense) and one is strategic:

'Android' as in the ASOP is a mixture of GPL and Apache. Exactly how many man-hours it takes to get ASOP running on your platform, or Dalvik and friends running on your non-Linux kernel is an open question, and may end up being quite a few if you want it to work well; but there is nobody to stop you, and you just need suitably skilled software people.

Trouble is, much of the good stuff in 'Android' (and stuff that Google doesn't exactly discourage developers from using) isn't ASOP, it's Google Play Services, a set of proprietary applications, libraries, and Google-backed web servcies that can be bestowed or denied to your device at the power and mere pleasure of Team Mountain View. They tend to ignore indie ROM-cookers and two-bit pacific RIM clonemongers who quietly pirate GPS; but if a company large enough to target, or ambitious enough to try to cut deals with major carriers in markets Google cares about, tries to distribute GPS without Google's blessing, it's world-of-hurt time.

At a greater or lesser cost in software engineers, you could get an ASOP-compatible Android compatibility layer running on QNX, NT, OSX, whatever. However, how much that helps you is increasingly limited.

Re:right, (2)

Daniel Hoffmann (2902427) | about 8 months ago | (#46231785)

There is also the usability issue, Windows apps are different from Android apps and this dissonance subconsciously annoys the user. Ever tried using Mac after been a Windows user for years? same thing. Think of the mouse movement you do subconsciously do when you try to resize a window, there is a big chance that what you do will not work on a Mac.

Re:right, (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#46231805)

That is also true. I suspect that some of that could be papered over by modifying the properties of the OS-provided widget sets; but I don't even want to think about dealing with all the special cases that would arise...

Re:right, (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 8 months ago | (#46232083)

The trick with 'Android compatibility' is that it's really two different problems. One is merely engineering ('merely' in the 'may actually be quite difficult; but there are engineers that are quite smart, trying giving them money' sense) and one is strategic:

  'Android' as in the ASOP is a mixture of GPL and Apache. Exactly how many man-hours it takes to get ASOP running on your platform, or Dalvik and friends running on your non-Linux kernel is an open question, and may end up being quite a few if you want it to work well; but there is nobody to stop you, and you just need suitably skilled software people.

  Trouble is, much of the good stuff in 'Android' (and stuff that Google doesn't exactly discourage developers from using) isn't ASOP, it's Google Play Services, a set of proprietary applications, libraries, and Google-backed web servcies that can be bestowed or denied to your device at the power and mere pleasure of Team Mountain View. They tend to ignore indie ROM-cookers and two-bit pacific RIM clonemongers who quietly pirate GPS; but if a company large enough to target, or ambitious enough to try to cut deals with major carriers in markets Google cares about, tries to distribute GPS without Google's blessing, it's world-of-hurt time.

  At a greater or lesser cost in software engineers, you could get an ASOP-compatible Android compatibility layer running on QNX, NT, OSX, whatever. However, how much that helps you is increasingly limited.

Or there's a third way.

You could try to do it Blackberry's way which is to integrate AOSP into the OS so you can run Android apps mostly unmodified, just repackaged.

Or you can put the compatibility into the dev tools itself - parse the Android makefiles to figure out how to make it a Visual Studio solution, have compatibility DLLs and java compilers (Microsoft did, at one point make a Java compiler) with native compilers and libraries to handle the JNI hooks, so a good chunk of it is just load the source into Visual Studio and click Build. Out pops a native Windows Phone binary you can use.

And if Microsoft felt generous, they could make it so Android apps can be built from the same tree and out pops an APK. So if you write within Visual Studio, you get advantages of being able to code for both, and tweak stuff so Windows Phone apps integrate properly.

Heck, Microsoft can even emulate the Google Play Services APIs using their own - Bing Maps, etc.

Fuck beta! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46231059)

As long as they don't allow the Slashdot beta on their store I'm okay with that.

Android is already there (0)

NapalmV (1934294) | about 8 months ago | (#46231075)

Did anyone notice that Microsoft already has an Android phone? Not "Android compatible" but 100% Android?

http://www.businessinsider.com... [businessinsider.com]

.

Re:Android is already there (2)

Desler (1608317) | about 8 months ago | (#46231159)

Microsoft doesn't own Nokia's handset business yet. So, no, it's not their phone.

Re:Android is already there (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 8 months ago | (#46231225)

Microsoft doesn't own Nokia's handset business yet. So, no, it's not their phone.

But when/if they do own it ... you can bet an Android phone is going to be deemed something they don't want to be doing any more.

Re:Android is already there (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#46231469)

Microsoft doesn't own Nokia's handset business yet. So, no, it's not their phone.

But when/if they do own it ... you can bet an Android phone is going to be deemed something they don't want to be doing any more.

I wonder if they'll just take it out and shoot it, in some reasonably dignified manner, or if we'll be treated to the entertaining spectacle of a repeat of their purchase of Danger? As somebody who doesn't own MS stock, watching them shell out for a reasonably-well-functioning company, decide that they weren't going to be releasing no BSD-based handsets, and having the whole affair that used to be the 'Sidekick' go down in flames as 'Project Pink' was hilarious.

Re:Android is already there (1)

CurryCamel (2265886) | about 8 months ago | (#46231317)

Also, the phone is still just a rumour. Wouldn't be surprised if the entrie thing turned out to be just a UI update for Asha.

Re:Android is already there (1)

daboochmeister (914039) | about 8 months ago | (#46231295)

What Desler said ... and also, you should define what you mean by "not 'Android compatible' but 100% Android" ... if the average user heard "100% Android", they would likely assume that the Play Store and all of Google's proprietary apps are on-board; and the Nokia offering is certainly based solely on the AOSP, the open source core of Android, without the Google services. Witness how the average consumer doesn't associate the Kindle Fire with Android, per se. The Nokia (soon to be MicroKia) offering would be of the same ilk. (Unless MS chose to join the Open Handset Alliance, and commit to a true Android phone - uh, yeah, snowball, meety fiery inferno)

A suggestion about Beta Slashdot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46231107)

I have a suggestion about Beta Slashdot, why not have peoples chose between the 2 interface when they enter the website, Classic or Beta. I know some internet site that give choices like that. Why not Slashdot.

Re:A suggestion about Beta Slashdot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46231845)

APK figured a way around beta and it works http://games.slashdot.org/comm... [slashdot.org]

Slippery slope (5, Interesting)

mlg98 (155719) | about 8 months ago | (#46231117)

As a Windows Phone user I think this is a terrible idea. Didn't BlackBerry already try this? Did it help them? I don't think so. It is a slippery slope that only leads to irrelevance.

The beauty of Windows Phone is that it is not like Android and iOS. Well written WP apps, which follow the Metro (I know they don't call it that anymore) design philosophy integrate beautifully into the environment. Slapping Android apps, which follow very different conventions would diminish the user experience.

Re:Slippery slope (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 8 months ago | (#46231191)

Slapping Android apps, which follow very different conventions would diminish the user experience.

Doesn't really matter, if they don't have any users. Microsoft is desperate for anything to convince people that they should buy Windows phones, rather than the competition.

Microsoft have traditionally been a cheap crap brand, but Android already has the cheap crap end of the market. If they want to compete at the high end, they'll have to drop the Windows name, because that shouts 'cheap crap' to just about everyone on the planet who's been using it for years.

Re:Slippery slope (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 8 months ago | (#46231397)

Also, it doesn't have any windows.

Re:Slippery slope (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46231853)

Microsoft have traditionally been a cheap crap brand

Lol. How do you like living in the alternate reality of the NeckBeard, you neckbeard weirdo?

Re:Slippery slope (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46231221)

Blackberry 10 (BB10) has been able to 'side load' Android apps but not being a direct route, was troubling to some users. With the current official BB10 10.2 you can directly load Android apps. 10.2 has been rolled out by many carriers but not all just yet. My opinion to be sure, but the whole 'app gap' debacle is a freaking joke. Many of the so-called major apps BB has been missing are available in competing (and sometimes better) apps. You'd never know it thanks to all the Android and IOS fanboyism but BB10 happens to be pretty great. :)

Re:Slippery slope (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 8 months ago | (#46231773)

Is BB's actual Android support any better now than it was a year or two ago, because the BB Android support I saw was pretty bloody dismal.

Re:Slippery slope (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 8 months ago | (#46231361)

Time was when the euronerd's rallying cry was "The beauty of Symbian is that it isn't Windows Mobile." My how things have changed.

Peter Bright? You mean "goiter man"?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46231209)

Look @ that freak's chin for God's sake - either he sucks too much cock, or he has goiter.

Re:Peter Bright? You mean "goiter man"?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46231663)

You weren't kidding http://ts4.mm.bing.net/th?id=H... [bing.net]

Re:Peter Bright? You mean "goiter man"?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46232395)

hahaha he does look like he has goiter

History repeating itself (2)

Viros (1128445) | about 8 months ago | (#46231233)

So...they're basically going to do the same thing OS/2 did with Windows applications? How well did that work out for OS/2?

Re:History repeating itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46231313)

Not too well when MS pulled the plug on giving them the source code...

Re:History repeating itself (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 8 months ago | (#46231381)

I don't think Google is dumb enough to hire Microsoft to come up with the next version of Android. That decision for O/S2 was so monumentally stupid that it had to be an inside job, like the Nokia thing.

Re:History repeating itself (2)

Viros (1128445) | about 8 months ago | (#46231513)

I was actually referring to the Windows application compatibility feature in OS/2 that caused a lot of developers to skip out on a native OS/2 version of their programs since the Windows ones "just worked" on OS/2 as well.

Re:History repeating itself (4, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 8 months ago | (#46231729)

Windows 3.1 and Win32S ran well in OS/2. What killed OS/2 in the end was that they had no access to the full Win32 API being used in Windows NT, and when Chicago/Windows 95 adopted the (nearly) full Win32 API suite, developers decided Microsoft, with its vast OEM network, was going to be the winner and abandoned any notion of supporting OS/2. I remember the last floundering days of OS/2 Warp 4, when IBM put out both a browser and an MS-Works-like office suite, as well as some sort of Win32 migration layer to the OS/2 32 bit API in the hopes that they could lure developers. Sadly, even by the mid-1990s, when my involvement with IBM as a VAR ended, Word and Excel had sufficient penetration that that last ditch attempt fell on its face, and OS/2, for all its advantages was relegated to a slow death.

lol (1)

sootman (158191) | about 8 months ago | (#46231297)

Glad I looked more closely at the summary before proceeding with my original thought for a comment -- I was going to link to that exact article. [stratechery.com] The key point for those who don't RTFAs:

WHAT SHOULD MICROSOFT DO?
Choose between devices and services. The problem with pursuing both, as Microsoft is doing, is that strategy taxes are inevitable. If you favor your devices by giving them better services, you are by definition limiting your services on competing devices. Meanwhile, by offering your services on competing devices, you are limiting the competitive advantage of your devices.

Hey! (1, Flamebait)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#46231341)

Remember, back in the day, when the last of the dinosaurs were being hunted to extinction by Cro-magnon man and Sun was still not-wholly-doomed?

In order to mess with them, MS created the MS JRM, which was almost like the Sun JVM except not, in ways so obnoxious that the courts eventually forced them to back off.

Now, since Dalvik is Totally Definitely Not a JVM, MS is presumably free to produce MS Dalvik (they'll probably call it 'Microsoft Mobile Platform Interoperability Foundation 2012' or something) that supports Android applications, and has a few extra little .NETly features that Android doesn't. It'll be just like the good old days!

Re:Hey! (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 8 months ago | (#46231417)

Remember, back in the day, when the last of the dinosaurs were being hunted to extinction by Cro-magnon man

Your timeline is so incredibly off, it's not even funny. It was Australopithicus Afarensis that killed off the last dinosurs, not Cro-magnon!

Re:Hey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46231609)

Remember, back in the day, when the last of the dinosaurs were being hunted to extinction by Cro-magnon man

Your timeline is so incredibly off, it's not even funny. It was Australopithicus Afarensis that killed off the last dinosurs, not Cro-magnon!

Thanks, Jurassic Dork.

Just More of The Windows Way (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | about 8 months ago | (#46231743)

Bill, Steve and Satya sit down to plan how to take over mobile.

Bill, "We've got to do this like I predicted 12 years ago."

Steve, "Right. Our engineers have been working 24 hours a day on this so we can allow any app to run on our mobile. It's going to be great Microsoft Mobile Everything Everywhere."

Satya, " .." "With all due respect Everything Everywhere is not going to work, unless you carry a PC in your pocket."

Won't support native code (2)

Thomasje (709120) | about 8 months ago | (#46231763)

I'll bet you anything this won't support native code, just like BlackBerry's Android compatibility box. Supporting native code would require running an actual Android kernel, because native code can perform system calls and all that -- it's outside of the Java sandbox.

This counts as a "rumor"? (1)

mechtech256 (2617089) | about 8 months ago | (#46231911)

This isn't a rumor, it's just a news article. The article is titled "Analysis: Satya Nadella must kill Windows Phone and fork Android".

Nowhere has Microsoft given any impression that they are considering this, this is simply a writer for The Guardian thwoing out a crazy idea. From a technical and business standpoint, it's a very rough idea for Windows Phone.

Windows Phone has been doing pretty well too recently, at least as far as market share growth and raw sales numbers are concerned. It's doing quite well in Europe (which US news downplays), and in the US marketshare went from 2.6% to 4.7% over the last year. Obviously not very impressive but it's far from a dying platform.

Re:This counts as a "rumor"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46232415)

Windows Phone has been doing pretty well too recently, at least as far as market share growth [...]

You mean... they sold... a second one???

It worked well for OS/2 (4, Insightful)

jader3rd (2222716) | about 8 months ago | (#46231991)

When OS/2 was struggling for market share, IBM decided that they could bring along more customers by allowing Windows programs to run on OS/2. So they put a whole lot of effort into it and the result was a disaster. The few programs that used to have an OS/2 version no longer did. The program maker didn't see a reason to make an OS/2 version if their Windows version ran on OS/2 too. And customers saw that Windows programs ran better on Windows than on OS/2, so why buy an OS/2 machine if all of the programs you want to run, run better on this cheaper Windows machine?

No point (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46232211)

Microsoft is almost completely irrelevant as a provider of mobile devices. Why write such a prominent article, on a company that targets only a tiny part of the budget market for mobile devices? It doesn't really matter what Microsoft do. The problem is that their devices run Windows, not that they don't really have any software.
Try using a Windows phone, and you will quickly see why they are largely irrelevant.
Microsoft shouldn't fork Android. They should cease behaving badly, and become another Android phone provider. It would serve Microsoft much better, to not be a patent huckster. It damages Microsoft to behave like this, more than it damages their competitors. Who wants to do business with a company that uses these kind of tactics?
Visual Studio could be adapted quite nicely as an Android development toolchain, and Microsoft have online services to offer. The day of single vendor platforms has long passed. It looks likely that Apple will also fade fairly quickly for different reasons, as cheaper devices commoditise once quite expensive functionality. In such an environment, Apple really have nowhere to go. They have never been a hardware innovator - just a re-packager of other vendors technology. At high price points, that Apple business model could work, but as prices drop, their margins will be squeezed, and their management will likely panic, and resort to unethical behaviour, like patent hucksterism.

Would be a stunning admission that Metro failed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46232237)

If MS allowed Android mobile apps on Windows, it would be all but admitting Metro is an utter failure. Then they could rip Metro out of desktop Windows and give us our start menu back! Let's close the book on Metro and never speak of it again.

IBM OS/2 vs Windows (1)

Ted Stockwell (2878303) | about 8 months ago | (#46232339)

IBM's OS/2 was able to run DOS and Windows problems. OS/2 was billed as "a better DOS than DOS and a better Windows than Windows".
I've always thought that feature was actually OS/2's downfall. Back in the day when I had to make a choice whether to develop for Windows or for OS/2 I chose Windows because I knew that my program would run on both Windows *and* OS/2.

So, implementing Android compatibility guarantees that nobody will develop for Windows Phone. As OS/2 proved, making Windows Phone a "better Android than an Android" is a losing strategy.

Just give up (3, Interesting)

Sable Drakon (831800) | about 8 months ago | (#46232341)

Give it up, MS. You've lost mobile all over again. This is just another repeat of WinMo 6/6.5 and not many people are going to put up with it. So instead of bowing out when you knew you were beaten, you've proceeded to beat the dead horse and wasting more money on failed products. The fact that both you and Blackberry have been trying to get Android apps to run on your platforms is telling of a serious lack of confidense on your software. Just give up.
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