Windows Azure supports Android apps, extends cloud to East Asia

Microsoft has added Android support to its backend Azure cloud services.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Nearly six months after officially launching Azure Mobile Services, Microsoft has added Android support for its infrastructure-as-a service product for mobile app developers.

Azure Mobile Services connects developers' apps with Microsoft's Azure resources and services, offering to streamline the integration of app features like push notifications, authentication with Facebook, Twitter and Google authentication, and messaging. The service also offers Azure resources, such tables, queues and its "blob" storage — recently crowned the most reliable cloud storage service in the industry, according to one report.

Microsoft launched Mobile Services with Windows 8 (Windows Store) in August, and in October added Windows Phone 8 and iOS app support

The company tapped its Open Technologies Inc. unit to deliver Android support, which includes an Android SDK available on GitHub under an Apache 2.0 licence. The Android SDK will help developers enable push notifications via Google Cloud Messaging to Android 2.2+ devices as well as authenticate users.

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Azure Mobile Services management console. Image: Microsoft/Scott Guthrie.

The support for Android comes hand in hand with with the extended availability of Azure Mobile Services in the East Asia region, helping reduce latency for developers with Android users in the region.

Microsoft's corporate vice president Scott Guthrie yesterday also announced a slew of new capabilities enabled in Azure over the weekend, including availability monitoring for cloud services, websites, mobile services and VMs, which allows developers to test performance from different locations.

The full list of new capabilities include:

  • Mobile Services: Android support, East Asia Region Support, iOS dev content
  • SQL Reporting Services: Support in the management portal
  • Active Directory: Support in the azure management portal, user and domain management
  • Availability Monitoring for Cloud Services. Virtual Machines, Web Sites, and Mobile Services
  • Service Bus: New configuration tab and metrics
  • Storage: Ability to download blobs directly in management portal
  • Media Services: New monitoring metrics and quickstart experience
  • Cloud Services: Support for .cer certificate files upload
  • Localisation support for five new languages
  • Windows Azure Store Support in 22 Additional Countries
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