Microsoft has confirmed that its initiative to bring Android apps to Windows 10 is "not yet ready," but while the company does not directly speak of it, all other signs point to the death of Project Astoria.
In a statement to The Verge, Microsoft points developers to other tools that will allow them to bring their apps to the Windows platform. In particular, Microsoft mentions Project Islandwood for iOS developers, one of the company's four Bridges of Support to bring apps from other platforms. The other three Bridges are Project Astoria, Project Westminster for Web apps and Project Centennial for Win32 apps, the latter two of which seem to be doing well.
"The Astoria bridge is not ready yet, but other tools offer great options for developers," says Microsoft. "For example, the iOS bridge enables developers to write a native Windows Universal app which calls UWP APIs directly from Objective-C, and to mix and match UWP and iOS concepts such as XAML and UIKit."
Windows Central first reported on the issue, citing sources who say Project Astoria is "not going as planned." Furthermore, the Microsoft forums for Project Astoria have gone dark, with developer questions about technical issues and the future of the project going unanswered since September. To top it all off, Insider Build 10586 of Windows 10 Mobile, the very build used for commercial release, no longer has the Android subsystem in it, which allows apps ported on Android to run on Windows.
One reason Microsoft may have decided to discontinue Project Astoria is technical. While Project Islandwood requires iOS apps to be recompiled and reworked by developers, thus allowing apps designed to take advantage of Windows 10's features, Project Astoria is a simple emulator, which can possibly lead to a whole host of technical problems with apps not optimized for Windows 10. It's similar to what happened with BlackBerry, which allowed Android apps to run in its ecosystem via Amazon's Appstore. Unfortunately, that didn't work, and so BlackBerry decided to develop its own Android smartphone altogether.
The issue could also be economic. As Windows Central reports, the Project Astoria team is (was?) composed of up to 80 people, while Project Islandwood only required five. In the end, most Android apps that matter have their iOS counterparts, so consumers won't have issues with missing out on the most popular apps. However, Microsoft will certainly lose out on a huge developer audience from countries where iOS is not available.