Microsoft hopes to draw Android developers to Windows Phone

Microsoft is offering Android developers an API mapping tool and advice on converting applications to Windows Phone

Microsoft is trying to woo Android application developers, offering them help in porting applications to Windows Phone.

The company has released a Windows Phone API mapping tool for Android developers to help them find their way around the Windows Phone platform. Developers should think of the tool as being like a translation dictionary, Senior Technical Evangelist for Interoperability Jean-Christophe Cimetiere wrote in a blog post.

It has also published a white paper, "Windows Phone 7 Guide for Android Application Developers," describing the differences between the two platforms, including the way they handle inactive applications and multitasking.

For Windows Phone to become a success, Microsoft and partners like Nokia have to convince developers to add the operating system to the list of platforms they target.

Android and Apple's iOS are the most popular operating systems among developers, according to a survey by VisionMobile published this week. It found that 67 percent of developers target Android, and 59 percent target iOS.

Windows Phone is the seventh most popular platform, with just 36 percent of developers working on apps for it: More still target Symbian, the OS that Nokia is abandoning in favor of Windows Phone, the survey found, although Symbian's share fell to 38 percent in June from 46 percent a year earlier.

Microsoft has already reached out to iPhone app developers with specific Windows Phone guidance and an API mapping tool for iOS.

This summer, it plans to expand the scope of the API Mapping tools to include the features in Mango, the next major upgrade of Windows Phone.

Enterprise software developers are starting to show an interest in having their applications running across a range of mobile devices. Last week, German company Software AG acquired Metismo, developer of a platform that can convert Java apps to run natively on Android, BlackBerryOS, Windows Phone and webOS.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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