In an attempt to get more developers to release apps for Windows, Microsoft did something unusual with Windows 10: the company offered tools that make it easy for iOS, Android, and web app developers to convert their existing apps into Universal Windows apps that can be submitted to the Windows Store.
That wouldn’t really help users much unless developers actually make use of those tools… but it turns out many Android apps can run on Windows even if they haven’t been officially ported to the platform.
Now a group of hackers have taken the next step and figure out how to install the Google Mobile Services and Google Apps including the Google Play Store on smartphones running Windows 10 Mobile software. This is very much an unofficial project, and a work in progress though.
This could make it almost as easy to find and install Android apps on a Windows phone as it is on an Android phone… at if and when developers can figure out how to make it work better.
So here’s the thing: you can sideload a number of Android apps on a phone running Windows 10 Mobile. But apps that require Google Mobile Services won’t work properly.
So developers are working on ways to install Google Mobile Services with support for the Play Store and other features that will not only make it easy to install third-party apps without sideloading them, but will also help sideloaded apps to work better.
Xda-developer forum member ADeltaX has released a script that helps you load Google Apps onto a number of recent Lumia devices running Windows 10 Mobile preview software.
But early testers have noticed that the Google Play Store doesn’t work yet. According to ADeltaX, that’s because Microsoft’s Project Astoria software that allows Android apps to run on Windows currently only supports running a single app at a time. This causes the Play Store to crash since it relies on other apps and services.
So while it’s possible to load the Play Store on a Windows 10 Mobile device, it’s not actually possible to use it yet… at least until developer find a way to get around Microsoft’s restriction.
Work on this project began earlier this month, and you can check out a different forum thread for more details, although the installation process outlined in that thread seems to no longer be recommended.
Update: This post has been updated to clarify that while’s it’s currently possible to install the Play Store, it will crash if you actually try to use it.