By Stephen Schenck | May 1, 2013 5:23 PM
One of the hardest parts of attracting users to a particular smartphone platform is convincing them to abandon the ecosystem with which they’ve already invested considerable time and money. After all, your OS might be great, but if that means having to start from square one with apps, movies, and music, it just might not seem worth the while. In order to help convince Android users that they should think about jumping ship for Windows Phone, Microsoft has released a new tool to find replacement apps, but is it really all it’s cracked up to be?
Switch to Windows Phone scans your Android handset for installed apps, and then connects with Microsoft’s servers to find “equivalent” versions. That’s in quotes because we are dealing neither with horseshoes nor hand grenades here, and a “close enough” app often just won’t cut it.
We tried this out on one of our phones and saw the app reporting an 89% match. Great, right? Well, the app doesn’t out and tell you just what these “equivalent” versions are, only showing you their icons and offering to save the list to the cloud, so you can easily get started installing them, should you decide to change platforms. With a little detective work in the Windows Phone Store, however, you can often work out just what Microsoft’s suggestions really are.
For one example, we had the Minecraft Android app installed, and noticed some Minecraft-looking bricks in one of the icons Microsoft’s scan returned. Well, that can’t be right, can it; there is no Minecraft for Windows Phone, right? Indeed, it seems that Microsoft’s equivalent to the official Minecraft Pocket Edition is something called Survivalcraft, a shameless ripoff of Minecraft proper.
We haven’t gone through them all, but we’re guessing that the majority of that 89% match is more of the same – not WP versions of the same apps, but a whole lot of knock-offs. Instead of making us feel inclined to switch, this app seems more to just highlight what’s wrong with Windows Phone’s selection of apps.