Microsoft's Project Astoria is no more

Microsoft's Project Astoria has been thrown out the window, so to speak. The project was meant to help developers bring their Android apps to Windows. Confirmation of its cancellation comes a day after Microsoft agreed to acquire Xamarin, a provider of cross-platform mobile app development software.

Project Astoria was just one of four software bridges from other platforms that Microsoft announced last year to try and grow its library of Universal Windows Platform apps. The other three were Project Islandwood for Objective-C iOS apps, Project Centennial for existing Win32 and .NET apps, and The Web Bridge for HTML and JavaScript web apps. Microsoft says it's still proceeding with those three projects.

The company says it cancelled the Android bridge in order to focus exclusively on the iOS bridge. By some accounts, Project Astoria had been struggling for some time. There was speculation that Android apps were so easy to port that providing a bridge would dissuade developers from making native Windows apps altogether, or that it would cause them not to integrate Android apps with native Windows features.

The importance of Xamarin software in this turmoil is that it allows developers to build native apps for multiple platforms—including iOS, Android, Windows, and the Mac—based on a single shared C# codebase. Importantly, those tools give developers access to the native UIs and APIs of each platform, so that the shared codebase be supplemented with platform-specific functionality. Microsoft already has Xamarin support built into Visual Studio, Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and the Enterprise Mobility Suite.

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