One of the most anticipated features of Windows 11 is closer to becoming a reality. The beta version of the operating system will start receiving support for Android apps this Wednesday (20). For now, the new feature will only be available for eligible devices with Intel, AMD and Qualcomm processors in the US only.
Microsoft will release a preview version of Windows Subsystem for Android, a component needed to run mobile operating system apps.
The distribution of the applications will be in charge of the Amazon Appstore, a store focused mainly on Kindle Fire tablets — they run a customized version of the system, without access to the Play Store. Amazon Appstore will be integrated with Microsoft Store for Windows 11.
At this start, Amazon selected 50 apps, which will be offered for testing and validation. The list includes Kindle, educational programs like Lego Duplo World and Khan Academy Kids, and popular games like Lords Mobile and Coin Master.
Android apps are well integrated with Windows 11
Android apps will work like any other Windows program: you can minimize, run alongside other software, Alt+Tab to switch windows, pin to taskbar — pretty much everything you’d expect from full support.
In addition, notifications are integrated with Action Center, and the clipboard is shared with the rest of the system. Many of the accessibility features of Windows will be available. It is possible to operate them using mouse and keyboard, but some are better with touchscreens, for those who have this option.
Subsystem has Linux kernel and Android version 11
To run Android apps, Windows 11 relies on Windows Subsystem for Android. This subsystem has a Linux kernel and an operating system based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) version 11.
It runs on a Hyper-V Virtual Machine — like another subsystem, the Windows Subsystem for Linux — and understands how to make APIs work with Microsoft’s graphical system environment and with the computer’s sensors, memory, and input/output devices. .
The subsystem will be installed as part of the Amazon Appstore and will receive updates to keep up with the latest APIs and new usage scenarios.
The component is available to the three main processor manufacturers: Intel, AMD and Qualcomm. Microsoft also says it is working with Intel to use Intel Bridge Technology to be able to run applications that are unique to Arm architectures.
And despite the partnership with Amazon, there are already reports of users who managed to sideload APKs — the name given to the installation process carried out outside of stores, directly with the application’s files. Mishaal Rahman, former site editor XDA Developers, says he managed to install Firefox for Android on a Realme Book with Windows 11.
Lack of launch support frustrated users
Compatibility with Android apps is one of the features most expected by Windows users — after all, it opens up great possibilities for productivity and fun, with messengers, social networks, games and more, thanks to access to a very consolidated ecosystem.
However, in August, Microsoft announced that users would have to wait a little longer because the feature would not be available at the OS release. The expectation is that compatibility will reach everyone by 2022 — today’s release, still very limited, is another step in that direction.
With information: Microsoft, The Verge, Engadget