back to article Microsoft unveils Android apps for Windows 11 (for US users only)

Microsoft has further teased the arrival of the Windows Subsystem for Android by detailing how the platform will work via a newly published document for Windows Insiders. The document, spotted by inveterate Microsoft prodder "WalkingCat" makes for interesting reading for developers keen to make their applications work in the …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "Android apps for Windows 11"

    I do hope this just means that you can now also develop Android apps on Windows 11.

    Which shouldn't be a news event since, if you can do so on Windows 1 0, I fail to see why it should be such a revolution to do it also on Windows 11.

    And if you can't do so on Windows 1 0, why ?

    This is just Borkzilla pushing 11 to the forefront.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: "Android apps for Windows 11"

      Go and learn about the Linux Subsystem and how it's completely different to "developing Linux Programs"

  2. BloggsyMaloan

    "Microsoft has further teased the arrival of the Windows Subsystem for Android by..."

    ... tickling its little nubbin?

  3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    is this new?

    Aside from issues of convenience for the lay user, is this actually different from running the app in the emulator in Android Studio?

    And why is it limited geographically? Is it just not very good yet and they want the initial tranche of bug reports to be in English?

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: is this new?

      I think it would have several features not in the emulator. For one thing, you should be able to run several things together, rather than just your one project. You can also run things that you don't have the source for, which also helps. And it should integrate better with the local system, for example by letting you share disk space between Android apps and Windows programs.

      All that said, I can't think of why this is useful. I'm sure I'll download it when it's available in production because I have some time I don't mind wasting, but I can't think of any Android app that I want running on my computer. Most apps either have better versions for desktop which work natively or benefit from the features of a phone (my computer can't provide a GPS receiver or mobile connection, and it isn't pocketable). I'm more interested in trying to run desktop apps on the mobile device, to be honest.

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: is this new?

        Can you install banking apps and log in with Windows Hello? That could be useful, except most banking apps are only available on the Google store.

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: is this new?

          Not my expertise, but I'd guess that an Android app doesn't know what Windows Hello is. Probably it will work with a Windows password management program though. And it would be for a bank to decide to publish its Android software through Amazon as well as through Google, it is mainly just a different file server providing the same files, but if they don't then I don't know why... is it inconsistent with other activities of Amazon? Amazon does do a credit card, or one that says Amazon on it.

          Or, you could use the bank's web site.

          1. katrinab Silver badge
            Unhappy

            Re: is this new?

            Using the bank's website means doing 2FA of some description, which almost always involves getting my phone out, either to retrieve a text message, getting a code from the app, or authorising the login on the app. Whereas Touch-ID on my iPhone counts as 2FA so it is much quicker.

            If Windows Hello could be linked to Android's equivalent of Touch-ID and Face-ID, that could be very useful.

      2. JDX Gold badge

        Re: I can't think of any Android app that I want running on my computer

        >>I can't think of any Android app that I want running on my computer. Most apps either have better versions for desktop which work natively or benefit from the features of a phone

        It'll vary from person to person but lots of games and apps are mobile only, and in fact I'm seeing some platforms ditch their websites in favour of app-first development (WeSwap being the most recent).

        I don't really like running apps on my phone when I'm sat at my PC with a big monitor so I can see it being handy if it works smoothly (IF)

    2. ToFab

      Re: is this new?

      The want the initial testers to be in the same time zone as the developers so they get feedback faster. If testers was spread out world wide they would in many cases first get the feedback next working day.

  4. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Well hopefully this might get more app developers to submit their apps to the Amazon App store which is missing a lot of useful apps. And to get them to develop apps that don't rely on Google Play services so they will work on deGoogled devices.

    1. Blackjack Silver badge

      The huge problem is that Android apps are for Android, adding compatibility for Windows 11 on a single country and being forced to use Amazon store seems like too much of a hassle when you can develop Android Apps for Chromebooks instead.

      Developers don't have the time and money or motivation to change their Apps for Windows 11.

      Whatever is the point? What can you do with an Android App that you cannot do with a Windows App?

      On Chromebooks well is different because they do not have the thousands of programs Windows has.

      1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
        Holmes

        > "Developers don't have the time and money or motivation to change their Apps for Windows 11."

        In the same way that they don't have the time/money to build a separate app for Windows.

        Microsoft have seen that they're losing market share to mobile devices. Companies no longer develop for Windows, just for Apple and Android. Apple is a closed shop, but by supporting Android apps they can (potentially) claw back some of the market share. Handily android apps are already built to support arbitrary screen sizes too, Apple not so much.

        It may also elevate Google's status in the mobile device market, which would be to the detriment of Apple. "My enemy's enemy is my friend"

        I can see the logic. It's deeply flawed, but I can see it.

        1. Blackjack Silver badge

          Android is already on more devices than Apple. Adding mouse/touchpad compatibility for Android Apps is going to help Chromebooks and tablets that pretend to be laptops way more than it helps Microsoft. If Microsoft had added support to every country, with the caveat that it was just free apps for now, maybe it would be a motivation to use Windows 11, as it is a motivation to not use it and just use an Android emulator or make an Android VM.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Most businesses in the SMB sector still rely on Windows applications. Having the occasional Android app they need on the same machine could be useful.

  5. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

    Sooooo... will we not just be able to install any old APK then?

    1. skotl

      Yep - you can install any old APK, although it's a little protracted.

      Download the Android SDK Platform Tools for Windows from https://developer.android.com/studio/releases/platform-tools

      Unzip it (nothing to install) and locate "adb.exe"

      Download your APK and the run "adb INSTALL <name-of-apk>" and you're done! The Android app is now available from the Windows start menu and can just be launched like a Windows app. I installed the Whatsapp and Kindle android apps last night and both... just work...

  6. thondwe

    Use cases?

    Use case? - Testing/Demoing/Evaluating Ecosystems - i.e. Can run/share both Windows/Web and Android Apps on one screen/remote session without having to buy/connect extra tin?

    Odd that they are using Amazon though, clearly Google not keen?

    1. BrownishMonstr

      Re: Use cases?

      I'm sure they've had their run-ins with Google.

      On Windows Phone 7, the chocolate factory didn't release a YouTube App and sent a cease and desist to MS to stop them from releasing their own version of it.

      I thought it was petty, but the lack of apps on Windows Phone certainly caused it to die.

      There were also rumours of Microsoft wanting to port Android apps over to WP, but that went dead in the water, for some reason.

  7. Potemkine! Silver badge

    It seems to be such a terrible idea

    Did we lack security problems in Windows so much that it was required to add all those from another security-lax ecosystem?

  8. AlanSh

    Bluestacks?

    I can run Bluestacks on Windows 10 now and get apps from the Play store. Why would I need this?

    Alan

    1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      Re: Bluestacks?

      I do that, but it's a beast of a memory hog. I just about get by running it on my 8GB laptop. (I only run it because I don't have a smartphone but people want to contact me on "What is the Application".) Maybe it might be leaner in the WSA (but probably not). In any case, at least it wouldn't be advertising busty wenches in low-quality MMORPGs at me.

      1. thondwe

        Re: Bluestacks?

        Any emulation of Android/IOS is going to be a memory hog - you're emulating a phone with what 4/6GB RAM or more + solid state storage for Apps - so that'll need a bit of caching esp on a machine with spinning rust disks? Same problem with VMs, but just checked WSL2 - so Debian with an xcalc App running - less than 1GB. So if Android Emulation gets close to that - nice?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So is my TL;DR takeaway you'll be able to run "Apps" on a Win11 Desktop ?

    If so, count me in. It's a PITA trying to sync multiple mobile devices to use a single account (like my "smart" thermostat requires);.

  10. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

    Eh...why?

    Why would anyone want to run Android apps on their desktop computer?

    1. AlanSh

      Re: Eh...why?

      Readly.

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