Windows 11’s subsystem for Android

During Windows 11’s June 2021 event, Microsoft confirmed that Android apps are coming to Windows 11 and users will be able to try mobile apps on the desktop operating system.

With Windows 11, Microsoft is bringing Amazon Appstore to its Microsoft Store.

Android apps

Within the redesigned app store, users will be given access to an extensive catalog of Android apps, which will be powered by Amazon’s Appstore. Amazon has already confirmed that its Appstore will support Android App Bundles (AAB), the next-generation Android app standard format that will eventually replace the current APK format.

As a result, Windows 11 users can access nearly all popular Android apps directly from the native Microsoft Store.

How Android apps work on Windows 11

To help users run their favourite Android apps on Windows 11, Microsoft says it will use Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA), which is similar to Linux Subsystem for Linux (WSL).

Windows 11 will also ship with a new virtual machine technology to address compatibility issues with Android Open Source Project (AOSP), which is an open-source software stack.

Thanks to Android Open Source Project (AOSP), Windows 11 doesn’t require Google Play Services support and most apps will work fine on the desktop operating system.

Android apps compatibility

During the event, Microsoft officials confirmed Android apps will work on Intel, AMD and Qualcomm (ARM) devices. 

Not much is known about how Microsoft will support Android apps on AMD systems but the company has already confirmed that they will use Intel’s Bridge Technology feature on all Intel PCs.

Intel Bridge Technology is a run-time post compiler to enable applications that are not compiled to run natively on x86-based devices—such as Android-based mobile applications—to run on those devices. Intel believes it is important to provide this capability and has designed Intel Bridge technology to support all x86 platforms.

Intel’s Bridge technology is not restricted to Intel CPUs, so it can be used to run mobile apps on AMD CPUs, but Microsoft says Bridge tech is not necessary for AMD or ARM CPUs.

Sideloading Android apps

The Amazon Appstore is not as big as its competition and not all apps are available, but Microsoft says users can easily sideload the APK files.

An engineer at Microsoft recently confirmed on Twitter that users can sideload apps onto Windows 11, but it’s unclear how the sideload process will work.

When can you try Android apps on PC?

Microsoft is currently planning to launch the first preview of Android apps later this year and more details will be shared soon