Microsoft has a new Android app called Switch to Windows Phone

Microsoft figures customers will be more likely to switch from Android smartphones to Windows 8 phones if it makes it easier to find the same or similar apps for their new phone as were on their old phones.

Microsoft is introducing Switch to Windows Phone, an Android app that finds identical or replacement applications for Windows Phone 8 to replace their old Android apps.

The new application, which is being released today, is not available for iPhone.

Switch to Windows Phone inventories all the applications on the Android phone and sends that inventory to the Microsoft SkyDrive cloud. When customers log in to the same SkyDrive account from the Switch to Windows Phone app loaded on their Windows Phone 8, the app finds the same set of applications. If there are no exact replacements, the app recommends similar ones, according to Guru Gowrappan, executive vice president for products at application search firm Quixey.

Quixey supplies the apps-search engine within Switch to Windows Phone. The engine uses descriptions of apps, reviews of apps, trouble reports about apps and other metadata it gathers from the Web to recommend substitute applications to users, Gowrappan says. The goal is to make them as close as possible to matching the app on the Android phone.

In the case of Switch to Windows Phone, the Quixey search engine goes through the 135,000 Windows Phone 8 applications in the Windows Store seeking direct matches such as the Windows Phone 8 Facebook app to replace the Android Facebook app or to find applications that perform as close to the same function as possible, he says.

The search engine can also look for applications based on what customers want to do. So a customer could enter cook Italian food into the engine and would get a list of apps such as Tuscan Chef and Italian Video Recipes.

Tim Greene covers Microsoft and unified communications for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at tgreene@nww.com and follow him on Twitter @Tim_Greene.

This story, "Microsoft has a new Android app called Switch to Windows Phone" was originally published by NetworkWorld .

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