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You can now test Android apps on Windows 11

If you don’t like using emulators, Windows 11 is currently testing Android apps on the operating system.

windows 11 android apps
Image: Microsoft

Microsoft has recently released a new Windows 11 feature that enables testers to install and run Android apps on the operating system. The new version is currently available only to members of the Beta Channel, as long as they are using Intel, AMD, or Qualcomm CPUs.

The Android app subsystem currently only offers access to the Amazon Appstore and uses the Microsoft Store as an intermediary. The apps are listed in the latter, however, clicking on them opens the Amazon Store for download and installation.

Once installed, the Android apps can be run side by side with regular desktop executables and Microsoft Store apps. They are also integrated with the Alt+Tab task switcher and the Task View screen. Furthermore, you can pin Android apps to the Taskbar and Start menu similarly to any other application.

The Windows 11 team has stated that “You can see notifications from Android apps notifications in the Action Center or share your clipboard between a Windows app and an Android app,” allowing for seamless integration of both types of software.

android apps on windows 11
Image: Microsoft

Microsoft has made a deal with Amazon to curate 50 test apps that will be made available to Windows Insiders. These include reading apps like Kindle, games such as Coin Master and Lords Mobile, and also applications designed for children. Examples of the latter would be Lego Duplo World and Khan Academy Kids.

It is currently unknown how many apps will be available once Microsoft releases the Android app feature for consumer use.

The Android subsystem includes a Linux kernel and an Android operating system that is based on the Android Open Source Project 11. The Windows 11 team notes:

“The Subsystem runs in a Hyper-V Virtual Machine, like the Windows Subsystem for Linux,” and “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.”

So far, Microsoft has only enabled the subsystem for the Beta Channel testers. However, the developer plans to also make the preview available to those who are part of the Dev Channel, in the future.

To test the new feature, you will have to have Windows 11 installed on a machine that uses one of the supported chipsets, have the region set to the US, and be a part of the Beta Channel of the Windows Insider Program. You will also need a US-based Amazon account to download and install apps from the Amazon Store.

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