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Microsoft now lets you test Android apps on Windows 11

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Beta Channel testers get access first

Microsoft is now allowing Windows 11 testers to try out Android apps. A preview version of the Windows Subsystem for Android will be available to beta testers of Windows 11 today, providing access to apps from the Amazon Appstore. Testers with Intel, AMD, and Qualcomm processors will all be able to try out Android apps on Windows 11.

Apps can be loaded through the Microsoft Store, which will list a variety of apps that then point toward the Amazon Appstore to load and install. Android apps can run side by side with other Windows apps, and they’re also integrated into Alt + Tab and Task view, and you can pin them to the Start menu or the taskbar.

Android apps are available in the Microsoft Store on Windows 11.
Image: Microsoft

“You can see notifications from Android apps notifications in the Action Center or share your clipboard between a Windows app and an Android app,” explains Android on Windows 11 team. “We have built the experience with accessibility in mind; many Windows accessibility settings apply to Android apps and we are working with Amazon to deliver more improvements.”

Microsoft has partnered with Amazon to curate 50 apps for Windows Insiders to test on Windows 11. These include mobile games like Lords Mobile, June’s Journey, and Coin Master. There are also reading apps like Kindle, and kids apps like Lego Duplo World or Khan Academy Kids.

Fifty apps is a tiny selection of the more than 3 million apps available on the Google Play Store, and even the more than 600,000 on Amazon’s Appstore. It’s not clear how many Android apps will be available once this feature is broadly launched for Windows 11.

Android apps running alongside other Windows apps.
Image: Microsoft

Microsoft has built a subsystem in Windows 11 to enable Android app support. It includes the Linux kernel and an Android OS based on Android Open Source Project (AOSP) version 11. “The Subsystem runs in a Hyper-V Virtual Machine, like the Windows Subsystem for Linux,” says Microsoft’s Android apps on Windows 11 team. “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.”

This subsystem supports AMD, Intel, and Qualcomm chips, and Microsoft has partnered with Intel to enable Arm-only apps to run on AMD and Intel devices.

Microsoft is only enabling Android apps in the Beta Channel of Windows 11 today, and the company says it plans to bring the preview to Dev Channel users “down the road.” Your Windows 11 PC will need to be set to the US region, in the Beta Channel, and it also requires a US-based Amazon account to access the Amazon Appstore.