Microsoft is reportedly working on a new project that would let you install Android apps on a Windows 10 device. Windows Central says the initiative is called Project Latte and it’s likely powered by the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). It could make its first public appearance as early as next year, according to the publication who quotes sources familiar with the matter.
Of course, in order to get Android apps to run on Windows 10, Microsoft will have to provide its own Android subsystem, and the only apps that will be able to run are ones that don’t rely on Google Play Services. That’s because Google only lets you run Play Services on native Android devices like a smartphone or Chromebook. At least the apps that are supported should run pretty well thanks to added GPU acceleration in WSL.
If you recall, Microsoft already lets you run Android apps on Windows to an extent. You have to have an eligible Samsung phone which is mirrored to your desktop. Technically speaking, then, the apps aren’t natively running on the machine but through a sort of virtual machine. Project Latte would eliminate that awkward workaround and just let you install them on your computer.
It may just be me, but this feels like a response to Apple’s recent transition to ARM processors on the Mac. By adding the M1 to the Mac, Apple was able to provide the proper silicon for iPhone and iPad apps to run on macOS natively. Microsoft will more than likely have an uphill battle if it wants to replicate this transition at all since it’ll have to work with Google on the implementation. It’ll also have to convince developers to build their apps for Windows so they work well on machines with keyboards and mice. The wide variety of touchscreen Windows laptops should make that transition a bit easier to swallow, however.
All of that being said, Project Latte also obviously plays into Microsoft’s struggle to grow the library of apps available for Windows 10. Right now, the true stars of Windows all ship in .EXE packages, and that’s not very sexy. Microsoft clearly wants to take a more mainstream approach with Windows 10 to steer consumers away from the more friendly macOS and Chrome OS operating systems, both of which natively run apps you can find on your phone. Whether adding Android apps to Windows is the solution remains to be seen.
It’s likely that more details will leak out over time so I’ll be sure to inform you when there’s more information to dissect.
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