Windows Phone 10 is already in the works at Microsoft, but very little is known about the project right now despite the fact that sources close to the matter claim that we're only a few months away from the very first public preview build of this release.
In fact, Microsoft adopted the same cautious approach for most of the products launched in the last 12 months, so the whole secrecy surrounding Windows Phone 10 might actually be a sign that the unveiling of the testing build is nearing.
There's no doubt that Windows Phone 10 is going to be an exciting project, pretty much because of the same reasons that could make Windows 10 a big hit on the desktop: Microsoft does not afford to continue with another failure, and in order to increase its market share in the smartphone business, the next Windows Phone version has to be successful.
I recently sat down and talked to a true Apple fanboy, who after a short demo of Windows Phone, admitted that Microsoft was indeed doing an incredible job in the smartphone business. “Windows Phone is incredibly underrated,” he said, and there's no doubt that he was right.
But that's exactly why Windows Phone 10 needs to be successful, as Microsoft clearly has no other option than to get this right and improve its share against Android and iOS.
To do this, it appears that the software giant might come down to a dramatic change for its users. Recent speculation points out that Microsoft is (at least) considering bringing Android apps on Windows Phone in an attempt to address one of the biggest drawbacks of its platforms.
Keep in mind that everything is still in the rumor stage, so until Microsoft decides to share some information on its Android plans, everything is very uncertain.
First of all, the company is reportedly working to bring Android apps on Windows Phone (and possible Windows 10), but in the same way that BlackBerry developed for OS 10.
BlackBerry decided to implement third-party Android app stores in its new OS 10 and thanks to the fact that its new smartphone platform is based on QNX, which includes Android Runtime, apps can run on its new devices without any additional tweaks.
Microsoft, on the other hand, wants more control over Android apps that can be installed on Windows, so it's believed that the company might develop a way to bring these programs right in the Windows Store. How this would work is yet uncertain, but not all Android apps are expected to work on Microsoft's Windows devices.
Even though there are lot of vague details right now, there's one thing that makes more sense than the other: Microsoft doesn't want to have more than one store on the Windows platform, so if Android apps have a chance to arrive on Redmond's devices, this can only happen through the Windows Store.
First of all, by allowing Android applications to run on Windows 10 and Windows Phone 10, Microsoft would address one of the biggest setbacks currently impacting its modern platforms. The lack of apps is driving thousands of users to rival platforms, despite the company's plans to attract more developers and convince them to port their solutions to Windows.
Recent statistics indicate that the Windows Store and the Windows Phone Store have approximately 525,000 apps available for download, which isn't quite a good number when looking at what happens on rival platforms. The Google Play store has nearly 1.3 million apps right now, while the iOS App Store is very close with about the same figure, so Windows still has a very long way to go to compete with its rivals.
Therefore, by bringing Android apps on Windows, Microsoft would finally address this issue and make Windows Phone just as good as Android and iOS. Or even better, given the fact that both Windows and Android apps would run on Microsoft devices.
However, there's one big dilemma that Microsoft clearly needs to look at before moving a finger in this direction. If Windows Phone is tweaked to run Android apps, why develop new apps for Windows Phone? In other words, how would you convince developers to bring their apps on Windows since they can code for Android and shoot two birds with one stone?
Just imagine that, if all of the above prove to be true, building apps for Android would guarantee more developer hits from both Google Play store and Windows Phone store users, so there wouldn't be any need to create apps just for Microsoft's platform.
Sources familiar with the development plans say that Microsoft is already looking into ways to make the Windows store more appealing for devs, but that would be really hard unless the company makes an offer nobody can refuse. It also depends on how easy it will be to port Android apps to Windows, as few developers would be interested in such a project if hard work is required.
Just by looking at all these rumors, there's no doubt that Windows Phone has a bright future ahead. But everything depends on how well Microsoft plays its cards.