The ability to easily run smartphone / tablet apps on PCs and laptops is something that many users have longed for, and it seems that Microsoft is working to implement just that. Screenshots have surfaced showing Android apps running on Windows 11, giving a glimpse of what this feature might look like.
Although Microsoft previously stated that Windows 11 will support Android apps, the operating system started without this feature. It’s likely that Microsoft is still piloting it and only allowing a select circle of users to try it out through the Windows Insider Program’s dev channel. However, even after it’s complete, this is unlikely to be published as a mandatory part of a Windows update. The leaked information suggests that Microsoft plans instead to make it optional through the Microsoft Store.
Despite Microsoft’s urge to keep it confidential, leaked screenshots of the feature have been posted on Bilibili, a Chinese social media platform. One of the screenshots shows the Windows 11 interface on which the Microsoft Store is running with an app called “Windows Subsystem for Android” that is available for download. The program will use Intel Bridge Technology to translate ARM code to x86.
This is similar to the Windows Subsystem for Linux, which allows Windows users to run Linux binaries on their computers. This program was also recently made available by Microsoft and can be downloaded from the Microsoft Store. This enables optimized and faster updates that do not have to be tied to Windows Update.
The other screenshots give a better insight into what Android could bring with Windows 11. It seems that Microsoft is trying to integrate the apps to the same extent as regular programs so that users can pin them to the system tray, run multiple apps at the same time, and receive notifications.
One of the leaked screenshots shows the WeChat Android app. The app is pinned to the system tray next to Google Chrome, suggesting that it will be possible to do so in the Windows subsystem for Android program. Another screenshot clearly shows the ability to run multiple apps at the same time, resize them, and get notifications on the system tray.
While these initial screenshots look promising, it is possible that both Microsoft and Intel still have a way to go before this feature can be released. There is no official start date yet, but rumors point to the first half of 2022.
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