One of the biggest announcements at today’s Windows 11 reveal was that Microsoft would offer the option to run Android apps on its new operating system, powered by a new “Intel Bridge” compiler that helps those apps run on x86 systems. But despite being an Intel-developed system, Android apps on Windows 11 won’t just be limited to computers with Intel CPUs. AMD and Arm-based processors will also support Android apps.
“Intel believes it is important to provide this capability across all x86 platforms and has designed Intel Bridge technology to support all x86 platforms (including AMD platforms),” Intel confirmed in a statement to The Verge. Microsoft further corroborated that Android applications will be available for all silicon providers, including Arm, although the company isn’t talking about how well those apps will actually run yet.
According to Intel, Bridge itself is a run-time post compiler that translates applications that are compiled for non-x86 platforms (in this case, Android applications) into x86 instructions (which can run on Windows 11 with Intel or AMD CPUs). It’s a bit like a reverse version of Apple’s Rosetta software for its M1 Macs — but instead of converting x86 applications to run on Arm, it’s letting Arm-based apps run on x86 chips.
Arm-based Windows 11 devices, which won’t need that extra translation layer, will presumably be able to run Android apps without Intel Bridge, although Microsoft hasn’t fully explained how that will work just yet.
Windows 11’s Android apps are offered through a new partnership with Amazon’s Appstore. Android apps like TikTok will be listed on the new Microsoft Store, although users will also have to log in to their Amazon accounts in order to be able to install the mobile applications. Once set up, though, Android apps will run similar to any other windowed application, including the ability to pin them to the taskbar or snap them alongside other apps.