Microsoft has just announced that it will soon release a long-awaited update: Windows 11 will offer Android applications. This cooperation between Windows and Android marks a welcome change. Although many Windows users have already found various workarounds and emulators to run Android on their PC, Microsoft seems to be planning to make the process much easier.
The news comes from a Microsoft blog post aptly titled “A New Era of the PC”. The introduction of Android apps is definitely a new era for Windows, and it doesn’t come a minute too soon. Microsoft has announced that the update should be available as early as February 2022, although it’s still unclear whether the full Android update will roll out immediately. For now, Microsoft is calling it “A public preview of how you can use Android apps on Windows 11.”
Android apps will supposedly be available through the Microsoft Store, which will make it much easier to use certain apps than before through various emulators. In October 2021, the first screenshots of the feature were leaked, first shared on Chinese social media platform Bilibili.
Android on Windows 11: which applications will be available?
Although Microsoft wasn’t very forthcoming in its blog post, early leaks of the feature give us an idea of what Android might look like on Windows 11. A total of three screenshots were leaked, including a photo of the Microsoft Store and two apps. Keep in mind that all of this should be taken with a grain of salt until Microsoft actually rolls out the update: a lot may have changed since October 2021.
In the first screenshots shared by an anonymous source on Bilibili (via Windows Latest), we can see several interesting things. More importantly – and this seems to be confirmed by Microsoft itself in its latest update shared this week – the feature will likely be updated as an option in the Microsoft Store. One of the screenshots shows an app called “Windows Subsystem for Android” available for download. This is consistent with an already existing Microsoft Store program, Windows Subsystem for Linux, so there may be some merit there.
The other two screenshots included Android apps in what the source suggested was Windows 11 (with an early release of a Windows 11 update and/or some nifty footwork with the code coming in Windows 11 in October 2021.) One is quite simple, showing the WeChat Android app on Windows 11. The second screenshot suggested the ability to receive Android app notifications on Windows 11, and that Microsoft might support the Pinning apps to Windows 11 taskbar.
Android apps on Windows are a welcome addition
Android and Windows joining forces makes perfect sense, and a more streamlined experience is definitely something people miss. Of course, many Android apps already have Windows versions, like WhatsApp with its desktop client. However, there are also many that don’t, and these could be the early days of something that will one day look like the Synergy presented by Apple.
Apple’s family of devices generally offers a balanced user experience whether you’re using an iPhone or a MacBook. iOS users who choose to switch to Android may miss how their devices connected seamlessly, making it easier to transfer files and various other tasks between platforms.
Microsoft needs to recognize the need to make mobile app support easier for PC users, so the Android update comes as no surprise. However, that doesn’t make it any less welcome. The effectiveness of the feature and the applications that will be supported are yet to be determined.