Microsoft rolls out Android Apps support on Windows 11 to some Insiders
Microsoft announced today that it has started to roll out support for Android applications on its Windows 11 operating system. The first public release is limited to Beta Channel Insider systems, and even more limited.
Android apps support was one of the main features of Windows 11 that Microsoft announced earlier this year. The company did release Windows 11 to the public on October 2021, but Android application support did not make that release.
At is core, Android support uses a similar system as the Linux support that Microsoft added to Windows 10 and continued to support in Windows 11. For Android, Microsoft entered a partnership with Amazon to bring Amazon's Appstore to Windows 11.
The new component is called Windows Subsystem for Android, and it will be installed automatically through the Microsoft Store.
Microsoft describes the technology that Windows Subsystem for Android is based on in the following way:
The Subsystem includes the Linux kernel and the Android OS based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) version 11. It is distributed through the Microsoft Store as part of the Amazon Appstore install, which will allow users to stay updated over time as we continue to add support for more APIs, capabilities, and scenarios. The Subsystem runs in a Hyper-V Virtual Machine, like the Windows Subsystem for Linux. It understands how to map the runtime and APIs of apps in the AOSP environment to the Windows graphic layer, the memory buffers, the input modes, the physical and virtual devices, and the sensors.
Android Apps on Windows 11
The first public test of Android applications on Windows 11 is limited in several ways:
- It is only available for Windows 11 devices in the Beta Channel of Microsoft's Insider Program. Microsoft will introduce the functionality to Dev Channel builds at a later stage according to the announcement.
- The device needs to meet the minimum system requirements of Windows 11; these are verified according to Microsoft.
- Virtualization needs to be enabled in the BIOS/UEFI.
- Microsoft Store version 22110.1492.6.0 or higher needs to be installed.
- The PC's region needs to be set to U.S.
- An Amazon account that is based in the United States is required to use the Appstore.
Windows users who meet all the requirements can grab the Amazon Appstore Preview from the Microsoft Store by following this link.
Android applications support many of the features that native Windows programs and applications support. Users of Windows 11 can pin them to the Start menu or taskbar, use side-by-side layouts, and interact with the applications using input options such as the mouse, touch or pen.
The task switchers Alt-Tab and Task View display Android apps that are open on the device, and notifications are displayed just like other Windows notifications. Clipboard sharing is also supported between Android apps and the Windows system and its applications.
Microsoft published several Windows Subsystem for Android support pages, which provide additional information on topics such as accessibility, privacy, or troubleshooting.
- Mobile apps and the Windows Subsystem for Android
- Troubleshoot mobile apps on Windows
- Accessibility on Windows Subsystem for Android
- Windows Subsystem for Android Subsystem Screen Reader keyboard shortcuts
- Privacy with Windows Subsystem for Android and Amazon Appstore
- Microsoft License Terms - Microsoft Windows Subsystem for Android
- Windows Subsystem for Android developer documentation
It will take a while before Android support is integrated into stable versions of Windows 11. Microsoft has not revealed a schedule, but it seems likely that support will be integrated in 2022, and not at the end of 2021.
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