Microsoft has released the preview of Android apps to Windows 11 testers, after launching the new operating system without the feature at the start of October and promising to do so in the next few months.
The preview is available for anyone on the Windows Insider Program as well as Beta Channel users in the US on eligible devices running Intel, AMD, and Qualcomm platforms. It allows apps to be viewed through the Microsoft store before taking users to the Amazon Appstore to load and install them.
The apps can be run side-by-side with other apps and can be pinned to the Start menu or Taskbar, or even integrated into Alt+Tab and Task view to quickly move back and forth between them. Android app notifications can be viewed in the Action Center and users can share their clipboard between a Windows app and Android app too. Windows accessibility settings also apply to Android apps and Microsoft is working with Amazon to deliver more improvements in the coming months.
Microsoft revealed it has partnered with Amazon and app developers to curate 50 apps for Windows Insiders to test and validate across a broad set of hardware. These will be released in the coming months and allow users to try the game Lords Mobile, read Kindle books, and access Khan Academy Kids' library of learning tools.
The tech giant has also built the Windows Subsystem for Android, which powers the Amazon Appstore and its catalogue. The subsystem includes the Linux kernel and Android OS based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) version 11.
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“The Subsystem runs in a Hyper-V Virtual Machine, like the Windows Subsystem for Linux,” said Aidan Marcuss, corporate vice president at Windows. “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.”
The subsystem is available on AMD, Intel, and Qualcomm chips, and Microsoft is also partnering with Intel to enable Arm-only apps to run on AMD and Intel devices.
The Windows 11 rollout began on 5 October with all eligible devices to be offered the free upgrade by mid-2022. The update is being rolled out in a phased approach, meaning that new eligible devices will be offered the upgrade first.
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Zach Marzouk is a former ITPro, CloudPro, and ChannelPro staff writer, covering topics like security, privacy, worker rights, and startups, primarily in the Asia Pacific and the US regions. Zach joined ITPro in 2017 where he was introduced to the world of B2B technology as a junior staff writer, before he returned to Argentina in 2018, working in communications and as a copywriter. In 2021, he made his way back to ITPro as a staff writer during the pandemic, before joining the world of freelance in 2022.