Washington: American tech giant Microsoft, during its Windows 11 launch event on Thursday revealed that it is bringing Android apps to the platform. They will run natively on Windows 11 and will be downloadable from Amazon's Appstore, via the new Windows Store that's included in the operating system.
According to the Verge, apps will be listed in the new Windows Store, and Microsoft is also partnering with Intel to use its Intel Bridge technology to make this a reality. Android apps on Windows 11 can be pinned to the taskbar or snapped alongside traditional Windows apps.
Android apps on Windows 11 are an obvious answer to Apple's progress with its M1 chips and running iOS apps on macOS. While there are many web equivalents to mobile apps, they're often lackluster, and certain apps like Snapchat, Ring, Venmo, Roomba, and the majority of home automation apps aren't available on the web.
Microsoft demonstrated apps like TikTok running on Windows 11 during the launch event. The Windows store that Microsoft showed listed Ring, Yahoo, Uber, and others, so likely there will be full access to Amazon's Appstore.
It's not immediately clear as to how many existing devices will support Android apps with Windows 11, as hardware will need to support Intel Bridge technology.
This surprise announcement followed Microsoft's original plans to let Windows developers rework their existing Android apps for Windows in 2015. Project Astoria, as Microsoft labeled it, was a method to try to convince developers to port apps and make it easier to do so.
The plan eventually fell apart less than a year later, with Microsoft admitting that having "two bridge technologies to bring code from mobile operating systems to Windows was unnecessary."
The company had been toying with the idea of running Android apps on Windows natively for years, and it had been experimenting with the idea of listing Android apps in the Windows store just ahead of the Windows 10 launch. Instead, Microsoft pushed ahead trying to convince developers to adopt its failed Universal Windows Platform.
Android app integration directly into Windows is a significant shift, especially as the company has been favouring a different method to bridge the gap between Android and Windows. Microsoft has been embracing Android as the mobile version of Windows for years, and now those same mobile apps will run directly in Windows 11.