Try Android apps on your Windows Phone today

At Microsofts yearly developer conference, Build this April; they announced two interesting projects or bridges as they call them: Project Astoria and Project Islandwood. These bridges are intended for getting apps created for other platforms, namely Android and iOS to run on Windows 10.

Project Astoria contains a whole Android sub-system and will in its first rendition only be available on Windows 10 Mobile; which means phones and phablets only. Sorry desktop users.

In the latest builds of Windows 10 Mobile released through the Insider Preview Program the Android sub-system has been reportedly been a part of that package. Many pictures of developers and enthusiasts analyzing files and namespace have circulated on Twitter, and earlier today tools and documentation leaked for Project Astoria; making it so that some of us with supported phones can sideload Android apps onto our device.

Project Astoria currently works on a small set of phones, but it has been theorized that the next build of W10M will open up for a lot more devices. The current list of supported phones:

  • Nokia Lumia 920
  • Nokia Lumia 925
  • Nokia Lumia 929 / Verizon Icon
  • Nokia Lumia 830
  • Nokia Lumia 930
  • Nokia Lumia 1520
  • Nokia Lumia 635 (1GB RAM variant)
  • Nokia Lumia 730
  • Nokia Lumia 820
  • Nokia Lumia 435
  • Nokia Lumia 928

Unfortunately the new Lumia 640 and 640 XL aren’t supported which happens to be phones I have access to here while travelling so I have no way of testing, verifiyng or uploading a video to show of the features. I will make a video in a few days when I’m back home so be sure to check back for more detailed information.

In case you have a supported phone and want to test it out, you can head on to Neowin and check out their installation process, but beware, it can end up badly (well, hard reset badly) for the phone.

Running Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview build 10080 on Lumia 930

With the latest insider preview build of Windows 10 for Phones — now named Windows 10 Mobile — released you can now install it on your flagship phones like the Lumia 930 that I’m using. So that’s what I did. I hopped on the fast-ring and let the update process do its job.

When I returned to the phone (downloading and installing can take some time) — I was greeted with a loading screen. Turned out to be an eternal loading screen. It kept on loading and my phone started to heat up. I plugged it out of the charger and turned it off. I turned it back on again after a while and the loading screen still greeted me and it kept on loading. I found out I could however access the notification center, Cortana and even use the task switcher. The loading screen was in fact the start screen not being able to load. I thought I would have to use the recovery tool.

Then I tried resetting my phone from Settings > System > About > reset phone. After a reset the start screen appeared. With huge tiles. I then read some tips on tweeterspacespherenet about this particular issue and resolved it by going into Settings > Personalization > Start and enable “Show more tiles”. The tiles would be smaller, but there’s still some issues with the icon size to tile size ratio, but I can live with that for now.

Another issue you might run into is that backspace does not do anything. By adding another keyboard from Settings > Time & language > Keyboard this started to work as well. I might also add that I like the way you switch between languages now. Swiping on the space key? Nice gesture.

To sum it up or TL;DR:

Start screen not showing? Getting an infinite loading screen?

Reset your phone from Settings > System > About > reset phone

Huge tiles on your start screen?

Go to Settings > Personalization > Start and turn on “Show more tiles

Backspace not working?

Go to Settings > Time & language > Keyboard and add another keyboard language

One more thing; have you noticed a mouse cursor in the top-left corner when you tap on the back, home or search button on your phone? Try pairing a bluetooth mouse. You can now use your mouse to click on stuff on your phone. The scrolling does not work though: