Microsoft will make Android apps available for Windows 11. As part of its special Windows event Yesterday, Microsoft revealed to surprise an addition to Windows 11. Android apps will be able to run natively on Windows 11 and will be downloadable from Amazon’s Appstore through the new Windows store included in the operating system.
Windows 11 will have Android apps from Amazon’s Appstore, Microsoft says. Apps will be available through the new Windows Store, and will be able to be pinned to the taskbar and snapped next to traditional Windows apps. This project is being done in partnership with Intel, whose Intel Bridge technology will enable this, although the Android apps will still be compatible with both AMD and Arm-based systems.
Android apps on Windows 11 are an obvious answer to Apple’s progress with its M1 chips and running iOS apps on macOS. While there are many web equivalents to mobile apps, they’re often lacklustre, and certain apps like Snapchat, Ring, Venmo, Roomba, and the majority of home automation apps aren’t available on the web.
Microsoft demonstrated apps like TikTok running on Windows 11 today. The Windows store that Microsoft showed lists Ring, Yahoo, Uber, and others, so we’ll likely see full access to Amazon’s Appstore. It’s not immediately clear how well many existing devices will support Android apps with Windows 11, as Microsoft is pushing its support of Intel Bridge technology as the favoured way to run these apps.
This surprise announcement follows Microsoft’s original plans to let Windows developers rework their existing Android apps for Windows in 2015. Project Astoria, as Microsoft labelled it, was a method to try to convince developers to port apps and make it easier to do so. The plan eventually fell apart less than a year later, with Microsoft admitting that having “two bridge technologies to bring code from mobile operating systems to Windows was unnecessary.”
Microsoft has been toying with the idea of running Android apps natively on Windows for years, and the company had been experimenting with listing Android apps in the Windows store before the launch of Windows 10. Integrating Android apps directly into Windows is a significant change, especially since the company has used Your Phone to bridge the gap between Android and Windows. Over the past few years, Microsoft has embraced Android as their mobile platform for Windows, and now those apps will be directly supported on Windows 11.