Windows 10 to Natively Support iOS, Android Apps

John Lister's picture

Microsoft has made the announcement that Windows 10 will be able to run many iPhone, iPad and Android applications natively. That's just one of several revelations made about the new system this week, including the new name for Internet Explorer's successor.

The announcements came at Microsoft's annual Build conference for software developers, which shows off new ways that the upcoming operating system will work with software. The real shocker, however, is the fact that rival operating systems will be supported in Windows 10.

Microsoft is releasing toolkits for developers that will effectively act as translators, making it easy to convert the code behind applications for iOS or Android to run on Windows. As it stands now, the apps won't be able to run directly on Windows 10 without being converted, or "ported", first. Once ported, the apps can run natively on the Windows 10 platform. This is different from emulation, where apps could run on a supported platform but would most likely suffer from compatibility issues.

Mobile Apps Come To Windows 10 Desktop

While most apps are designed for smartphones and tablets, they should work on all Windows devices, from full-blown computers to tablets, and all the way down to phones. Of course, the apps may then require some tweaking to work well on large screens or with a keyboard and mouse.

Microsoft is hoping for a 'virtuous circle' effect: the more apps that are available for Windows 10, the more people will find the system worth using, and in turn the more developers will want to make their apps available for Windows 10.

New Windows 10 Browser Supports Extensions

The company also unveiled some more details about the replacement for Internet Explorer. While the project was codenamed Spartan (a reference to removing unnecessary code to make the browser run more smoothly), the finished browser will be called Edge. That's partly so that Microsoft can continue using the familiar icon of a lower-case e, which used to refer to 'Explorer'.

Unlike Internet Explorer, however, Edge will be able to run third-party extensions. Already a familiar place in browsers such as Chrome, extensions are optional tools that integrate with the browser and usually let users perform specific functions with a single click. Examples of browser extensions include tools for instantly sending a copy of a web page to a Kindle e-Reader, or automatically generating and storing a secure password for a website.

As with Windows itself, Microsoft is hoping to capitalize on the success of its rivals. It says developers of extensions for Chrome will be able to easily convert them to run in the new Edge browser.

What's Your Opinion?

Does the idea of running iOS and Android apps in Windows make the new system more attractive for you? Do you think smartphone and tablets apps can work well on a traditional computer? If you've switched to a non-Microsoft browser, does support for extensions make you more likely to try Edge?

Other Articles Related to Windows 10 Upgrade

We've recently written more articles related to Windows 10, including in-place upgrades and clean installs. Feel free to read more:

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (5 votes)


Dennis Faas's picture

This is huge for Microsoft and may be the single biggest reason for mobile users to start using the Windows 10 mobile platform. I also think that porting the existing apps to the Windows 10 platform was the right move as emulating the apps would have likely been awkward, buggy, and disastrous.

spiras's picture

This certainly is big news - Windows 10 will be a winner if Microsoft can live up to its word. But it remains to be seen if they will deliver. Promises apart and deeds apart.

I have been an IE user for many years, but of late I find myself using Firefox or Chrome more and more simply because IE falters more and more on so many websites, which probably prefer compatibility with Android / ioS over Windows. Let's hope that Microsoft's new vision of an all-compatible browser will solve that issue for once and for all.

guitardogg's picture

Okay, a browser that doesn't suck, iOS and Android apps, and a real desktop again. If they actually deliver these, Windows might not be doomed after all! Haven't had a lot of time on the Win 10 tech preview, but the little I have had has been positive. Time will tell!

blueboxer2's picture

Meh. Can Microsoft avoid trademark issues with Ford by making the first letter of the product name lower case? Or has Edge been retired so Ford doesn't care?
Never mind - I am still unclear on precisely what makes an app or extension different from a program or utility. Maybe I'll work it out some day.

I still cannot figure out how browser designers can hope to display all the different vertical and horizontal formats in all the different proportions on all of the variations of shape and proportions in which display screens are fixed, without intolerable distortion. They are already having problems with my very standard 17.3" screen.