Microsoft may be working on bringing Android apps to the Windows 10 Microsoft Store next year. That’s according to a new report from Windows Central’s Zac Bowden, who revealed today that the initiative is codenamed “Project Latte” internally.
As you may know, Microsoft previously tried to make Android apps available on its now deprecated Windows 10 Mobile platform, but the emulation technology codenamed Project Astoria was ultimately abandoned. Fast forward to 2020, Project Latte will reportedly allow app developers to package their Android apps as an MSIX and release them on the Windows 10 Microsoft Store, with “little to no code changes.”
With Android being a Linux-based platform, Bowden reported that Project Latte "is likely powered by the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL),” though Microsoft would still need to create its own Android subsystem to make Android apps run on Windows 10. However, the question of the Google Play Services APIs that surfaced with Project Astoria on Windows 10 Mobile many years ago also remains.
"It's unlikely that Project Latte will include support for Play Services, as Google doesn't allow Play Services to be installed on anything other than native Android devices and Chrome OS. This means that apps which require Play Services APIs will need to be updated to remove those dependencies before they can be submitted on Windows 10,” Bowden explained.
It will be interesting to see if Microsoft’s Project Latte can work without the Google Play Services APIs, which Android apps require for push notifications and other things. Asking developers to rework their Android apps for Windows 10 PCs may well be too much to ask, though Microsoft could make this work easier by creating its own alternative to Google Play Services, just like Amazon and other companies which forked Android did.
There are still a lot of unanswered questions about Project Latte, and it may well end up being cancelled just like Project Astoria was. Owners of Chromebooks and Android tablets know that Android apps rarely scale well on bigger screens, and these same apps could have similar issues on Windows 10 PCs.
We'll see what happens, but Bowden believes that Microsoft could officially announce Project Latte next year and ship it with the Windows 10 21H1 update. In the meantime, owners of select Samsung phones can now stream Android apps to their Windows 10 PC via Microsoft's Your Phone app.