Android apps are coming to Windows 11, and here’s what you need to know

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Are Android apps coming to Windows 11? Yeah.

Screenshot by Sarah Tew / CNET

It’s true: Android apps are finally coming to Windows. They will be fully integrated in the next version of the OS, Windows 11. You will be able to discover and search for applications in a new Microsoft Store. And apps will live right next to your Windows apps in your Start menu or built into the new taskbar.

The announcement, made by Microsoft product manager Panos Panay, closed Microsoft’s virtual event on Thursday for Windows 11. Android apps are something that seems to be in the works forever, but will happen when. the updated operating system is released later this year. And the best news is that it looks like you don’t need anything other than Windows 11 to get them to work.

A long time to come

It seems that people have been trying to run Android apps on Windows PCs for a decade. (Oh wait, he has been a decade.) Microsoft has a long time difficulty in attracting application developers to Windows despite the development tools for Android and iOS developers to port their applications to Windows.

However, over the past few years Microsoft has shifted its strategy by taking steps to bring your phone experiences to your PC. Of the society Your Phone app, for example, lets you pair your Android device with a Windows 10 PC so you can send and read texts, make and receive calls, view your photos, and receive notifications.

Late last year, Microsoft began rolling out an update for Your phone that lets you run Android apps from your phone on your Windows 10 the computer. The feature developed from a relationship with Samsung and as a result it currently only works with Samsung devices.

Your Phone app

Microsoft’s Your Phone app.

Microsoft

Samsung has also worked closely with Microsoft and Intel for its latest Galaxy Book Pro Laptops to give them the responsiveness of a phone as well as access to the features and applications of your Galaxy phone. Applications always run in another window and not directly on the PC.

Intel helped make it happen

Windows 11, however, won’t depend on syncing an Android device with your PC. Instead, applications will run natively on them using Intel’s Bridge technology, “a runtime post-compiler that allows applications to run natively on x86 devices, including the ‘running these applications on Windows, “Intel said in its related Windows 11 announcement.

Basically, instead of Microsoft trying to get Android developers to convert their apps to Windows like in the past, Microsoft has teamed up with Intel to make them work on Windows 11 – no code changes are needed. AMD and Arm chips also won’t need Bridge to run Android apps.

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Android apps will live on the Start menu along with Windows apps.

Amazon is part of the package

While Intel helps make it possible to run Android apps on Windows 11, Amazon – not Google – will deliver the apps to users. Amazon’s Appstore will be integrated into Microsoft Store updated and could stimulate both companies in the process.

Like Microsoft, Amazon has struggled to get developers to provide Android apps for its Appstore. Amazon Fire tablets run on a modified version of Android and anyone who has one can tell you that there are many holes in what is available. People end up installing the Google Play Store because of it.

The Microsoft Store can be just as maddening to use, from selecting it to browsing to paying. With the redesign, Microsoft promises to make it easier for developers to get their apps in the store and make more money doing so. Likewise, Amazon is using the new access to hundreds of millions of Windows customers to attract developers and expand their reach by accessing the Appstore. There will be built-in search, navigation, and discovery for apps in the updated Microsoft Store.

It’s not clear whether you’ll be able to download Android apps from other sources or install Google Play services and the Play Store separately, like Fire tablets. We may find out in the coming weeks. A public beta is also coming in July.

Google not being directly involved here is not much of a surprise either. After all, Google’s competitor Chrome OS already has access to Android apps through the Google Play Store. The point is, while they’ve been an option for years, not all Android apps work on Chromebooks. Hopefully Microsoft can avoid this with the way apps will run on PCs.

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Tik Tok on your PC.

Why do I want Android apps on Windows?

A big goal for Windows 11 (and Windows 10 too, really) is this evolution towards an operating system and devices that work the same no matter how you use them. Your laptop experience should be as responsive as your phone. And it should be Along with that, you should be able to do the same things regardless of the device.

Opening Windows to Android apps means more tools for productivity or content creation. Of course, this also includes entertainment and gaming applications. Adding applications means Windows adapts more to your needs than you need to adapt to what the operating system can do. Adding Android apps to Chrome OS has dramatically increased the appeal of Chromebooks. Adding this same flexibility to Windows should have a similar effect.


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