One of the key features of Windows 10 Mobile is being able to easily port Android/iOS apps over to the platform.
Microsoft embedded the Linux runtime that enables you to directly run Android apps on your Windows 10 Mobile phone. but that was part 1 of Microsoft's plan. The next step was optimizing the ported app to work on Windows 10 Mobile and by optimize I mean stripping the ported app of its dependency to Google's services (Google plus, maps, notifications and so on) and integrating it with Microsoft's own services. This step is achieved (or will be achieved) with the Project Astoria bridge tool Microsoft will be releasing soon.
I'll be uploading a tutorial video on how to install android apps on your Windows 10 Mobile phone soon. All you need is the android app's .apk file and it's as simple as "drag and drop"and just like that it's installed.
Of course, this isn't Microsoft's goal, right now you are installing an android app that depends on google services and isn't optimized for Windows 10 Mobile, so if you install an android app, you don't get notifications or even live tile support and not to mention how unstable it is.
This is what Project Astoria tool is going to accomplish, Android devs will use this tool to convert their google dependent apps to run smoothly and optimized for Windows Phone, or even make their apps universal apps that run on both Windows 10 PCs, Laptops, XBOX, HoloLens and phones.
So right now, Android apps are being installed without being optimized with the project Astoria tool, so when you install them, they are really buggy, unstable and in some occasions just unusable.
But if you are curious, you can give it a try, maybe your favorite Android app will work.
I know you might be thinking deja vu, Blackberry went down this route and today, they have lesser marketshare and are on course to releasing Blackberry phones running Android.
But I believe (I want to) that Microsoft's approach is quite different. Windows 10 platform is a rather unique one, with its live tiles, Cortana and its upcoming continuum features the only major obstacle Microsoft faces is the "App gap". Windows Phone just doesn't have the apps and when they do, they aren't up to par with their Android or iOS versions.
Now with Windows 10 Mobile and project Astoria bridge tool. Devs will be able to port over their Android apps with ease, Now instead of hiring Windows devs or rewriting their apps from scratch for Windows Phone, they can just use these new Microsoft tools to port over their apps in a short time with less effort.
This is a good thing, there is now a greater chance your favorite Android apps will be available on the Windows 10 Mobile platform and also, will be on par with the Android version.
So I bet your next question would be, what's the incentive to keep making Windows Phone apps then? Well, I too am curious to see how Microsoft intends on tackling this dilemma. There are already a lot of disgruntled Windows Phone devs who feel betrayed, but they can find solace in the fact that this move from Microsoft will grow the platform, as more users will move over as the app gap is reduced and more and more apps become available. After all, who doesn't want a unified ecosystem (Your laptop, Xbox, PC, Hololens and phone all running the same OS).
This will bring a bigger audience to our in-house Windows devs, this move doesn't stop them from making quality apps, in fact it brings competition and with competition comes greater products.
I think it's a WIN-WIN ultimately for the end users!
Let's hope this works out.