[Update] Android apps will run natively on Windows 11: Will Sideloading APK files on Windows OS work?

Android Apps Windows 11
Running Android apps on Windows 11 without emulator. Pic credit: Cristiano Betta/Flickr/

Windows 11 may be more of innovation rather than evolution, but it is certainly taking a big leap. Microsoft has indicated that the latest OS will run Android apps via the Amazon App Store.

Microsoft is reportedly working with Amazon and Intel to ensure Android apps run natively on Windows 11. The OS will need Intel Bridge Technology for Android support, and most likely depend heavily on the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL).

Android apps from Amazon App Store to run in Windows 11:

The Windows OS ecosystem has undergone a massive change during the past few years. And Windows 11 is certainly an important milestone in supporting non-Windows apps and platforms.

Windows 10 was the first OS in which Microsoft introduced a sub-layer of Linux. Technical jargon aside, Windows OS can now confidently run Linux apps.

Interestingly, with a recent update, Linux apps can run with full Graphical User Interface (GUI). This was possible due to WSLg (short for Windows Subsystem for Linux GUI).

Now Microsoft is moving a step ahead and attempting to offer the ever-growing Android app ecosystem. At the onset, Microsoft Windows 11 will reportedly support apps from the Amazon App Store.

Although not as extensive as the Google Play Store, Amazon’s virtual app marketplace is quite extensive. And more importantly, all the apps are essentially Android apps.

Windows 11 depends on WSL and Intel to offer native Android app support:

It seems Microsoft is relying on Intel and its Intel Bridge technology to offer Android App support. Moreover, reports indicate even ARM and AMD CPUs will support Android apps.

Simply put, Microsoft Windows 11 could be benefitting from the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2. The revised WLS 2 platform includes a Wayland, X server, pulse audio server, and everything else needed to make Linux GUI apps work inside Windows.

Official support for Linux apps from Microsoft also means users gain access to GPU hardware acceleration. The company has also offered audio and microphone support by default. Essentially, everything that a non-Windows app needs, is currently available.

Incidentally, the new OS already supports Progressive Web Apps (PWA). And Microsoft as well as several other tech giants are increasingly adopting the PWA platform. Although these are not Android apps, they do not need heavy maintenance and update a lot faster.

Microsoft is offering native Android app support, but it is not immediately clear if the company will allow sideloading Android apps. Needless to add, there are millions of APK files floating on the Internet and there are several apps that are not available on app stores.

Incidentally, Microsoft currently allows users to install apps from outside Microsoft Store. Hence it is quite likely that the company might not try to impede on the freedom of choice.

[Update] Although not official yet, Microsoft may allow sideloading Android apps on Windows 11.

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