Windows 11 Feature Focus: Android App Support

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Microsoft Windows 11 on a Laptop
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Executive Summary

  • With our Feature Focus series, we put a specific software feature under the microscope to help you decide how it might help your business.
  • In this special edition of the series, Windows 11 Feature Focus, we’ll be diving deep into the upcoming Windows 11 operating system – and giving you the information you need to decide whether it’s your next OS.
  • Today, we’re looking at the native support for Android apps in Windows 11. An odd inclusion, perhaps – but is there method behind Microsoft’s madness?

Introduction

Windows 11 was enough of a shock when it was announced in June 2021 – but the surprises didn’t stop there.

Among the many features we outlined in our announcement coverage, one in particular stands out as rather unusual – and that’s native support for Android apps.

With Google behind the driving seat of Android, it might seem unusual that Microsoft would suddenly support apps for this operating system natively in Windows, but that’s exactly what we’re getting.

Let’s look more closely at Android apps in Windows 11 – and discover whether this is a passing fad or a powerful new tool for businesses everywhere.

What is Android app support on Windows 11?

The worlds of mobile and desktop computing have always had a bit of distance between them.

Depending on who you ask, this is either a good or a bad thing.

But regardless of your thoughts on the mobile and desktop ecosystems, Microsoft has revalued plans to bring them both together via the magic of Windows 11.

Coming bundled in with the new operating system around “holiday 2021”, this latest innovation is the ability to install and run Android applications right in Windows 11. No need to install emulators or any third-party apps – just download them from the app store, open the up, and you’re off to the races.

As Microsoft showed in their keynote reveal, the apps open up in app-sized windows (more on that in a moment), and can be accessed via the Start Menu like any other application, then interacted with via mouse, keyboard or touch.

According to Ars Technica, Microsoft is trying its best to run these apps natively in Windows 11 – no need for separate apps to emulate Android phones. Pretty neat, right?

What does Amazon have to do with all of this?

One of the more interesting developments in this reveal is the method by which users will install Android apps.

With Google behind the Android OS, it was unlikely they’d grant access to the Android app store, so instead, Microsoft went another way – straight to Amazon.

What’s that saying? “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”.

And so, through this fragile alliance, Windows 11 users will be able to access over 500,000 apps via the built-in Amazon app store for Android apps. From there, they’ll find popular apps like TikTok, Disney+, Netflix, and many more – and run them right from their PC desktop.

3 key takeaways to know about Android apps on Windows 11

Now you’re familiar with the basics of this Windows 11 feature, let’s leave you with three key pieces of information you need to know.

  1. You won’t find any Google apps in the Amazon app store. As you’ll know if you’re familiar with the rivalries between the tech giants, it’s very rare to find Google’s products anywhere near an Amazon digital outlet. Windows 11 is no exception. So if you use Chrome or Gmail in their Android forms, you might need to stick to the Windows-native versions.
  2. The mobile apps will still look like, well, mobile apps. During the reveal event, Microsoft showed TikTok being used as an Android app within the Windows 11 interface. The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that the app launches in a portrait orientation which looks… odd on a widescreen desktop display. This might be an outlier, but remember it’s the app they chose to show off… so… yeah.
  3. You’ll need an Amazon account to use Android apps. Just to make the process as convoluted as possible, to download and use Android apps, you need to have an Amazon account, log in to the app store, then download and install. Doesn’t it seem easier just to use the Windows apps? We think so too.

Want the latest news on Windows 11 for businesses?

While we’re not convinced that native Android apps is going to be forcing anyone into the download queue for Windows 11, it is at least good to know that Microsoft is experimenting.

Keep an eye out for the next edition of our Windows 11 Feature Focus series to learn more about the new operating system and how it might benefit your business.

In the meantime, the best way to prep for Windows 11 is to ensure you’re all set up with Microsoft 365. Call the team today on 01865 59 4000 to get started, or fill in the form below.

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