‘Switch to Windows Phone’ Android app is Microsoft’s latest attempt to convert users to Windows Phone 8

by: Chris SmithApril 25, 2013

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Microsoft has a new app for Android device users that would help them make an easier switch to Windows Phone 8, in case they so desire.

Called “Switch to Windows Phone” and supposed to be released today, the app inventories the app contents on your phone in order to find exact matches or similar apps in Microsoft’s Windows Store.

That way, users looking to move from Android to WP8 would have an easier way to do so, by being able to somewhat recreate their app setup on a phone running a different platform.

However, things may not be as easy as it sounds, as there aren’t as many WP8 apps out there as there are Android apps. The Windows Store currently holds over 135,000 apps compared to the over 800,000 apps available in the Play Store.

As for how the process works, the Switch to Windows Phone app sends saves the app inventory of the phone to the Microsoft SkyDrive cloud. Then, when customers log back in to their SkyDrive account from the use the WP8 version of the app – presumably when moving to the new phone – the app will use that list to locate those apps in the Windows Store or find a proper replacement.

The app uses Quixey’s search engine that’s able to find apps by comparing “descriptions of apps, reviews of apps, trouble reports about apps and other metadata from the web,” according to CITE World. In addition to matching Android apps, the service can also find apps that would suit the user’s needs.

Interestingly, it appears that an iOS Switch to Windows Phone app will not be available from Apple’s App Store, which means Microsoft may be specifically interested in targeting Android users with the app and trying to convince them to move over.

Update: A previous version of this article stated that Switch to Windows Phone uses Microsoft SkyDrive in order to match apps. Now that the application is available in the Google Play Store, a Quixey representative told us the app does not use the SkyDrive cloud, as it was reported ahead of its launch, and we have edited the story accordingly.

  • lol this must be a joke app surely :)

  • Don’t buy anything with Windows Phone 8 or Windows 8!

    • APai

      sounds desperate move. they tried FUD – that din’t work, they tried scroogled, smoked by windows, etc etc.

    • flamencoguy

      Yup. I installed Windows 8 on my laptop. Now I regret it. The UI sucks big time. Much more difficult to get around in. Tiles are nothing more than rectangular gadgets and widgets with a new name. Most of which I don’t like and don’t use. Just distractions mostly. Nothing new. Just hype.

      Windows Explorer is buggy! Small “back’ button. They did not improve it over the Win 7 version. It fact they made it worse. The screen is not refreshed instantly in some cases after file rename or delete. I am not saying this because it happened once. It has happened dozens of times.

      MS should show us how good Windows is and not how bad Android is.

      They should stick to what they know. Users aren’t stupid!

      • Tim283

        MS’s next update Windows 8.1 is what they should have come out with in the first place. I wish I had a touch screen, but I am getting use to W8 now. I sure am looking forward to their upgrade. Windows Phone on the other hand is great. My daughter has a Galaxy S3 and can’t wait to get a stable WP8, like her younger brother. If you bought a lot of Android Apps, and want to switch, that doesn’t nullify what you already bought by getting WP8. I have just about all the Apps I want, and do what I want on WP8, and Windows 8, but can’t wait for the next upgrade, just like all Android, and iPhone users have patiently waited for their current, and upcoming upgrades. None of the OSs have all of a sudden arrived, and pleased their users completely. All OSs have left their users salivating over the next upgrade that promises most of what they have been wanting, and now that is WP8, and Windows 8.1 coming up. Every OS has things to improve on, but the user has to make up their own mind up. To each his own.

  • No thank you, I have invested in Android for the next few years at least and I’m very happy with it. And I don’t believe Apple would even consider approving a “switch to Windows phone” app for the App Store/iTunes. Just a thought.

  • Part of the point of the app is to illustrate that app count is somewhat misleading. For most apps, there is probably some sort of app in those 135,000 that will do generally what you want. Just perhaps not exactly or as nicely. Now, don’t get me wrong. I prefer Android for phones. However, I wouldn’t pan the idea on that point alone. For general silliness, sure, but not on the “it can’t find an app” point. ;-)

  • CyBrix_21

    A desperate move made by Microsoft…

    Anyways, WP8 is good… They must target those iPhone users, not Android…

    • Kiran Kumar

      or atleast BB users!

    • vampyren

      Agree, i recently went to android from iPhone (even though i still use it in parallel). Android has more appeal if you are after open OS with lots of possibility so WP is not a substitute but as you say iphone users should be a better candidate as WP is somewhere between iOS and Android…

      • Tim283

        This would normally sound like a silly strategy, but times have changed with the carriers. You are no longer stuck with the same smartphone for 2 years, so more people my try WP for 6 months to a year, and decide where they would rather stay. This is a win win situation for everyone. Right now, the media has kept the App hype going, but WP apps are steadly piling on. so, in a couple of years that argument will be put to rest, and you will have at least three stable smartphone OSs to choose from with confidence. To each his own.

        • vampyren

          I don’t think so. I spent about of money buying apps for my iPhone and now I did the same on Android so trying a third of is not something I take lightly. So unless I see something really appealing I won’t try it and from what see and read it dont speak to me. To each their own but i think Microsoft will fail with their OS strategy.

    • Tim283

      This would normally sound like a silly strategy, but times have changed with the carriers. You are no longer stuck with the same smartphone for 2 years, so more people my try WP for 6 months to a year, and decide where they would rather stay. This is a win win situation for everyone. Right now, the media has kept the App hype going, but WP apps are steadly piling on. so, in a couple of years that argument will be put to rest, and you will have at least three stable smartphone OSs to choose from with confidence. To each his own.

  • But then you still have to BUY the app all over again? No thanks.

  • No, thanks.
    Keeping Google Android.

  • The “reviews” on the Play Store should make for some entertaining reading.

  • Why move to WP when you can get a similar interface with ‘Launcher 8’ on all Android phones?

  • Get better marketing, and you will be able to attract iPhone users definitely .. maybe not Android… but yes iPhone users.

  • Ivan Myring

    No advantages to windows phone. Even the design can be got with a launcher

    • Tim283

      Stability, and Security.

  • APai

    Been trying to move away from microsoft/ windows. why would i want to move back to crappy windows again ? no thanks microsoft.

    • our.big.brother.is.watching

      Simply because their office suite is still the absolute best over all, and to date not one site has come anywhere close to meeting or beating the capability of an interoperable office system. Now if playing games is so important, stick with android. Although it (android) may be open source, Google still has its pawprints all over it; not to mention that their document processing apps really sucks; but as stated, “To each his or her own”. The Android is not a serious contender for office production. But hey; most kids today, neither work, or heaven forbid, actually produce. If office and production products were as plentiful and hi-tech as games are, there could be some merit to adopting the open source system. Unix/Linux systems used to be the cats meow for office production, in fact before Microsoft came out with their windows products, that was all there was. I don’t think Microsoft will ever lose that side of its market and hopefully they can come up with a suitable alternative that plays nicely with open source products but one can understand the reason for their disdain for Google and wannabe’s.

  • freedomspopular

    A better idea would be to have an app that runs like a “virtual” version of WP8 so people could sort of try it out for themselves. Or, you know, they could just stick with lame celebrity endorsements and people dancing on tablets. That works too.

  • Rohit Abraham Jose


  • boundbill

    couple questions:

    1. Can we know those matching apps without need to switch to WP8 first ?
    Because if I buy a WP8 phone and end up no match of my favorite apps, then it’s already too late.
    This ‘Switch to Windows Phone’ app supposedly to prepare users “before” switching, not “after” switching to new phone.

    2. Can we selectively choose which app to be included in matching process ?
    If the program lists all available apps in our phone and store it on microsoft server, that can be a serious privacy issue.

  • Genius-Otaku

    Correct if I am wrong, we aren’t going to know if there is an WP8 app to replace our Android app or not until we actually, bought the device. And then what happens if there isn’t an replacement?

  • Marcus Harmon

    Poor Microsoft, they are so desperate that they are willing to create this app. I highly doubt anyone would switch. Also, I doubt they will try this with iOS users because it is ‘just not gonna happen’ (no justification is necessary).

    • badge2033

      there’s a very easy explanation
      apple will never authorize such an app in the app store period

      • Marcus Harmon

        Even though Microsoft’s attempt is sort of lame, they do prove one flaw in Google Play: that apps like ‘Switch to Windows Phone’ can be easily put into the store.

    • Tim283

      That is only your opinion. Only time will tell. MS is a persistent bunch, and that is what Google, and Apple are afraid of, and don’t want WP to gapn any more traction. That is the real reason of all of the YouTube BS. If WP isn’t important enough for them to make an app without MS doing it themselves, then why bother haggling with MS. Google is afraid of having another competitor. Google doesn’t have control over the Android community, like Apple over iOS, only the smartphone manufacturers do. There allot of cheap illegitimate Chinese Android manufacturers, and Chinese made Apps, this doesn’t exclude other shady countries, companies, and individuals, that you better avoid. So, enjoy downloading a buggy, unsecure App with buyers remorse to follow. Be safe with any OS App. No quality control, and instability. You need Specs out the but to handle this wild OS. That is why Google is trying to fight back with its Nexus lineup, because Samsung is mopping them up, and they are not the highest of quality, but quantity, bells, and whistles. To each his own. (No gender intended.)

  • Kiran Kumar

    Sending troops inside enemy territory where those troops are out numbered and no match and asking to fight with them!! Ohhh!! So pity on microsoft! A desperate move!!

    • Tim283

      By any means necessary!. No one has to be sheep, but make up their own minds. You still own the Android Apps, but test drive, and decide what you like. There are pros and cons on all OSs. The number of Apps don’t impress me, but the quality of the OS, and they Apps that I like being available does. I am happy with my WP8, and looking forward to the next upgrade. I like the balance between iOS, and Android, along with WP being more stable. To each his own.

  • Timmy

    This has the potential to get even better.
    Google should release a “You got hosed by Windows Phone, come back to Android” app for the…whatever they call the app store in Windows.

  • Guy De Vos

    I bet apple won’t allow such an app in their app store.