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Furthering Windows Azure commitment to open source development, today, Microsoft announced  the release of our official Android SDK for Windows Azure Mobile Services. 

Android developers now have easy access to structured data storage, authentication, push notifications using Google Cloud Messaging(GCM) and more in the form of a native Java SDK.  This SDK joins the Windows Store, Windows Phone 8, and iOS SDKs that we've already released. 

MS Open Tech developed the SDK and the Windows Azure team worked on the portal integration and push notifications.  The native Java SDK for Android developers can be used for applications destined for the Google Play Store, Amazon App Store, or any other Android app store.  Additionally, integrated support for push notifications with GCM has been added to server scripts.  Like the other Mobile Services SDKs, the Android SDK will be open sourced you can access the GitHub repository here

To learn more about the release, please watch this short 7 minute video where I show how to quickly create a new mobile service, download the Android quick start app, and connect the app to Windows Azure Mobile Services.  Additionally, the features of the portal and capabilities of Mobile Services are described for people that haven't looked at Mobile Services before. 

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You can learn more about the announcement in ScottGu’s blog post here.

These services streamline the development process by enabling developers to use the cloud for backend functions like structured data storage and user authentication via Microsoft account, Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Whether you are a developer building an app for the Windows Store, iPhone, iPad, or Android and want an easy backend connection for storage, identity and push notifications, Windows Azure Mobile Services provides the right capabilities developers need.

Developers will benefit from the Windows Azure Mobile Services update in the following ways:

· Rapid Development: configure a straightforward and secure backend in less than five minutes.

· Create modern apps with the following built-in support:

· Email services through partnership with SendGrid

· SMS & voice services through partnership with Twilio

· Access to Structured Storage, Windows Azure Blob, Table, Queues, and ServiceBus

· Push Notifications for Windows Store, Windows Phone, iOS, and Android apps

· You can now create and run Mobile Services in 4 datacenters covering North America, Europe, and Asia. 

Visit WindowsAzure.com, access the current libraries up on GitHub, access the Android Quick Start project in the Windows Azure portal, and find tutorials in the Mobile Services dev center.

Windows Azure Mobile Services are still free for your first ten applications running on shared instances and if your interested in teaching Windows Azure please see http://www.windowsazure.com/education