Microsoft’s new Windows 11 lets users run Android apps

Microsoft has in the past tried its hand at wooing software developers to bring over their popular Android applications to its Windows platform. Windows is the world’s most widely used desktop operating system while Android, on the other hand is the world’s most widely used mobile operating system. Linking up the two seems like an obvious thing, right?

Well, the backers of the two platforms have all had their own visions of what the expansions into desktop territory, in the case of Google and Android, and mobile territory, in the case of Microsoft and Windows, would be.

For Google, its efforts with Chrome OS, the Linux-based operating system built around its Chrome browser that powers desktop-class devices, have been the more natural progression of its mobile efforts. This has been highlighted by the two platforms being able to share the same app store. Chrome OS users can install Android applications just like Android users do.

For Microsoft, with the failure of its own mobile efforts and subsequent abandonment, its focus turned on opening up its Windows platform to as many other apps and devices as it could. That meant wooing not just Android device makers but also app developers.

Its dalliance with Android device makers has resulted in the kinds of partnerships that the company has gotten into with companies like Samsung that sees its expansive Android apps portfolio pre-installed on Samsung smartphones and tablets. Its efforts in the apps space, where it has provided quality apps of its own to users of Android devices so that they can get the same experience as they would when working on their Windows computers has also not gone unnoticed. It has made everything from its famed office productivity suite to launchers and keyboards.

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Recently, the company has gone a step further to offer a deeper experience between Android and Windows using the YourPhone application that lets users make and receive calls from their Windows computer and also send and receive text messages after pairing their Android phone with their computer to mirror the former on the latter.

Most importantly, however, was its last gasp efforts, years ago, to convince developers to either port over their Android apps to the Windows side of things under the failed Project Astoria or to develop what it calls Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps that users could run everywhere. Given that those efforts didn’t lead anywhere, what was the most rational thing to do?

Well, how about linking up with an already-existing Android app store and offering Windows users all those apps to them right from the Microsoft Store where they have been slowly getting accustomed to downloading apps and installing updates from?

That is what will be happening when Microsoft’s new version of Windows, Windows 11, rolls out later in the year.

“Windows customers will be able to find Amazon Appstore apps through integrated search, browse, and discovery in the Microsoft Store,” notes a response to a frequently asked question posted on Amazon’s developer website.

Microsoft is partnering with Intel to make the whole process smooth but, for some of us, that will be a keen thing to note as, devices that may not be supported by the Intel Bridge Technology that allows the mobile apps to run on x86 machines (like most of our Intel-based laptops are) may have a hard time doing so. Listen in, AMD Ryzen and Arm users! Still, it is early days and we will surely know more about how all of this will happen in coming days.

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For now, Amazon says that its Appstore team “will be in touch with developers later this year to share details on how to publish to Windows”.

Users will therefore be able to access many mobile-only apps like TikTok on their desktop Windows machines as well.

The Android apps in Windows 11 will integrate deeply with the operating system and look and work like any other native Windows applications. Users will be able to pin them to the taskbar – which is now centred, by the way (but movable to wherever the user desires) – the revamped start menu, etc.

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