Rumor mill: Microsoft is supposedly developing a new software infrastructure that will allow Android apps to be converted, simply and quickly, to an MSIX app package that runs on Windows seamlessly. If the project proves successful, then some of the most popular Android apps could become available in the Microsoft Store.
Microsoft’s ambitious project is codenamed Latte, according to Windows Central. The report adds that Microsoft is planning to announce Latte next year, aiming to release it as part of the Windows 10 Fall 2021 update.
Microsoft’s first attempt to run Android software on Windows was project Astoria, and its purpose was to bring Android apps to the Windows phone ecosystem. That didn’t work, and its failure is partly to blame for the dismissal of the Windows phone concept; because without it, Microsoft couldn’t bring enough apps to their app store. And they still can’t.
Snapchat, which has over a billion downloads in the Play Store, isn’t readily available on Windows. This is the kind of ecosystem gap that makes Windows tablets, and hybrid devices like Microsoft’s own Surface Pro series, a difficult buy for general consumers. Latte exists (assuming it does exist) to make Windows more competitive against iOS and Android.
Lately, Microsoft has developed tools that allow more apps to run on Windows devices. UWP (the universal Windows platform), for example, has made apps more portable, and the added support for PWAs (progressive web apps) has streamlined app development. Thus it isn’t surprising that Microsoft has set its sights on Android apps. The aforementioned software also provides a robust foundation that Latte can utilize.
Windows Central speculates that Latte will be based on the recently-released WSL 2 (Windows subsystem for Linux). If Latte uses a secondary subsystem for Android on top of WSL, then the burden on developers will be very minimal. With a little luck, developers could finish the Android to Windows conversion before they’ve finished their morning lattes…