Google 'acqui-hires' Apportable, investing in OS flexibility for developers

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Editor's Corner

Dan Kobialka



Google has added a San Francisco-based mobile development software company to its portfolio. VentureBeat reported Google acquired Apportable more than a year ago for an undisclosed sum.

The transaction was an "acqui-hire," and accordingly, Google has retained Apportable founders Collin Jackson and Ian Fischer as software engineers, along with 11 members of the Apportable team.  

Apportable may be best known for Tengu, a service that enabled developers to port an iOS app to Android without having to make major changes to the app's code. As it turned out, Tengu proved to be exceedingly valuable for many developers, because it allowed them to reuse Swift and Objective-C code without sacrificing an app's native user interface.

Tengu now appears to have been taken offline, and the Tengu website currently displays an error message. But it's unlikely that developers have seen the last of Tengu, and the technology behind this service could be incorporated into Google developer tools soon. 

Apportable frequently helped developers reduce the development cost and time-to-market for the Android versions of their iOS apps, and the company still may impact the app development space for years to come.

Google's addition of Apportable – along with many members of the Apportable team – indicates that Google may be exploring ways to provide developers with greater flexibility when they choose an operating system (OS) for app development. And if Google can fully leverage Apportable's technology in its developer tools, it could accelerate the Android ecosystem's growth. 

Of course, it is important to note that Google's "Fuschia" OS is rumored to combine Chrome OS and Android, and Apportable's technology could further support this OS as well. 

It might be only a matter of time before we learn about Google's plans for Apportable. But with Apportable at its disposal, Google may be better equipped to help developers streamline the process of creating Android apps, and eventually, perhaps even Fuschia apps. - Dan@FierceDeveloper