Project Rome lets Android devs build apps that control Windows 10 PCs

by Radu Tyrsina
Radu Tyrsina
Radu Tyrsina
CEO & Founder
Radu Tyrsina has been a Windows fan ever since he got his first PC, a Pentium III (a monster at that time). For most of the kids of... read more
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Microsoft put the company’s Windows-only approach behind it a few years ago thanks to the company’s cross-platform initiative meant to keep up with competition. As part of Redmond’s efforts to work with rival platforms Android and iOS, Microsoft unveiled Project Rome along with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update at its Build 2016 event. Now, the software giant has released the Android version of the Project Rome software development kit for Java and Microsoft’s Xamarin.

Now, developers who create apps for both Android and the Windows 10 Universal Windows Platform will be able to communicate across platforms with Project Rome.

Controlling parts of a Windows 10 PC using Android

Using the Contoso Music app as an example, Microsoft says developers can use the Remote Systems API to discover other Windows devices that the user owns. The Remote Systems APIs will then enable the Contoso Music app to discover devices on the same network and through the cloud before the API launches the app on a Windows device. A developer can then use remote app services to run a Windows app from an Android handset. The goal is to fill the experience gap in moving between Android and Windows.

Carmen Forsmann, Windows program manager at Microsoft, explained:

Project Rome is a platform for creating experiences that transcend a single device and driving up user engagement – empowering a developer to create human-centric scenarios that move with the user and blur the lines between their devices regardless of form factor or platform.

It is important to keep in mind that the new feature only allows for the control of Android apps on a Windows 10 PC, and not the other way around. Although the tools necessary to achieve a two-way cross-platform experience for users are not available yet, Microsoft plans to roll them out in a future release of the Android SDK. Meanwhile, developers can access the Java and Xamarin examples via GitHub.