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Microsoft embraces Android with Azure Mobile Services update

Round hole drilled in Ballmer's big blue cloud

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Microsoft has added support for Android apps into Windows Azure Mobile Services, letting developers programmatically add authentication and push notifications.

The updates were announced by Microsoft on Tuesday, and follow Google's release of a similar range of mobile updates for its cloud in mid-February.

To let Azure support Google's mob OS, Microsoft created an Android SDK for use on Windows Azure, which is now available as an open source package on Github.

Developers working with Android 2.2 and above can now plug straight into Ballmer's big blue cloud. Previously, Azure Mobile Services only supported iOS, Windows Phone 8, and Windows 8.

As part of the update, Redmond also expanded support for Windows Azure Mobile Services to the East Asia region of its global cloud, bringing the total number of supported data-center hubs to four, including East and West US, and North Europe.

"We're committed to making it easy for developers to build and deploy cloud-connected applications for every major mobile platform using their favorite languages, tools, and services," Microsoft product manager Miranda Luna wrote in a blog post. "And we will continue to make product improvements and pursue partnerships that allow us to keep that promise."

The improvements came about in response to feature requests posted by Azure developers on Microsoft's uservoice page, Luna wrote. The Android request has, to date, garnered 55 votes. Other popular requests include custom API endpoints (126 votes), support for backend languages beyond Javascript (120 votes), and Mobile Services support for Microsoft's somewhat neglected 7.x phone platform. ®

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