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Tools for Porting Android Apps to Windows Phone 7

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Microsoft attracts Android developers to Windows Phone 7 (WP7) with an API mapping tool and a WP7 Guide.

Six weeks ago Microsoft released a package of tools aimed at iOS developers who are interested in porting iPhone applications to Windows Phone 7 (WP7). Yesterday, they did the same for Android developers. The helpers are:

The mapping tool suggests WP7 API entities for the corresponding Gingerbread ones, including links to Android and WP7 online documentation for quick reference. JC Cimetiere, a Senior Technical Evangelist in the Interoperability team at Microsoft, mentioned that one should not “expect a mapping for all of the APIs, simply because the platforms are built upon different architectures and user interfaces”, but they are “working on expanding the coverage of the API Mapping tool for both iOS and Android”. The tool does not reference WP Mango API yet, support for that being planned for this summer.

The WP7 guide for the Android developer makes an introduction to Microsoft’s phone development stack, its internal architecture, presenting similarities and differences from Android, and offering UI programming guidelines along with some introductory C# programming tips for those who would like to see their Android apps ported to Windows Phone.

The iOS and Android tools are part of Microsoft’s attempt to lure iPhone and Android developers to port their apps to Windows Phone in order to create a larger WP ecosystem. Microsoft is in the middle of another campaign trying to move Windows Mobile 6.x users to WP7, announcing the discontinuation of My Phone service and Windows Marketplace for Mobile Web by July 15th. Some of the content will be moved to Live Skydrive, but not music, videos, documents or favorites. The entire My Phone website will be terminated by October 6, 2011. It is interesting to see if those users will choose WP7 or other offerings such as iPhone, Android, or RIM. As an observation, Windows Mobile phones outsold WP7 ones during Q1 of 2011, according to Gartner, so things do not look great for WP7 right now.

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