Is Windows 11's Android Apps feature dead on arrival?
Microsoft lifted the veil on the next version of its Windows operating system this week. One of the main features of Windows 11 is support for Android applications. Microsoft did not reveal much about the support, only that the operating system would offer applications from Amazon's App Store.
A Microsoft employee revealed on Twitter that sideloading would be supported as well, but details on the process have not been revealed yet. Microsoft has not confirmed the fact officially yet.
Sideloading refers to the installation of applications directly, without using a Store to do so.
Amazon's App Store offers a large collection of Android apps and games, but not as much as Google Play, the store that is installed on pretty much all Android devices outside of China.
PC Magazine believes that the Microsoft's Android App Plan is doomed, but is that really the case? The main argument for the theory is that Amazon's App Store offering is not as extensive as that of Google Play. While it does offer apps and games that are not available on the Microsoft Store, it is not offering a complete catalog of Android apps. Major games like Genshin Impact or apps such as Signal or Slack, are not available in the Amazon App Store.
Developers and publishers could push their apps to the Store as integration in Windows 11 could reach a wider audience because of that, but the author does not think that this is going to happen. Microsoft's own Store has over a billion potential users, but many publishers of major applications have not released apps for the Store.
What PC Magazine fails to take into account is that applications and games don't need to be ported to be published on the Amazon App Store. The Android app does not need to be modified, and it takes just a couple of minutes to upload the application, add images and media, and text. Since it is a straightforward process, developers might be inclined to give it a try, especially since the uploaded apps and games have the potential of reaching Amazon's and Microsoft's customer base once Windows 11 is released.
Experienced users may sideload applications. Apps and games may be downloaded from third-party sources, e.g. the project's website on GitHub, to install them directly on a device. Whether it will be possible to install Google apps on Windows 11 remains to be seen.
Android apps on Windows 11 open up new possibilities for Microsoft and users of the operating system. Apps and games that are popular on Android but not available on the Microsoft Store may be installed, provided that they are offered on the Amazon App Store or can be sideloaded.
Whether the integration remains a niche feature or not depends largely on how it is presented to users. Microsoft could integrate search results in Windows Search, the Microsoft Store, or its search engine Bing, to highlight the availability of apps in Amazon's App Store that can be installed on the device.
If the App store is just installed but not highlighted, it is likely that it won't become very popular. In this case, Amazon's App Store on Windows 11 could be as dead on arrival as Windows 10's Microsoft Store.
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