Microsoft is bringing Android apps to Windows 11. The software giant revealed its surprise Windows 11 addition during its special Windows event today. Android apps 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.
Microsoft says it’s using Amazon’s Appstore to bring Android apps to Windows 11. Apps will be listed in the new Windows store, and can be pinned to the taskbar or snapped alongside traditional Windows apps. Microsoft is also partnering with Intel to use its Intel Bridge technology to make this a reality, although the Android apps will still work with both AMD and Arm-based systems.
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 today. The Windows store that Microsoft showed lists Ring, Yahoo, Uber, and others, so we’ll likely see full access to Amazon’s Appstore. It’s not immediately clear how well many existing devices will support Android apps with Windows 11, as Microsoft is pushing its support of Intel Bridge technology as the favored way to run these apps.
This surprise announcement follows 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.”
Microsoft has been toying with the idea of running Android apps on Windows natively for years, and the company 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 favoring Your Phone as the 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.
Update, 5:40pm: Added additional information on AMD and Arm support for Windows 11’s Android apps.