Android App Public Preview Hits Windows 11 To Bring 'New Era Of The PC'

Microsoft has just announced that it will soon release a much-anticipated update: Windows 11 will feature Android apps. This cooperation between Windows and Android marks a welcome change. Although many Windows users found various workarounds and emulators to run Android on their PC before, Microsoft seems to be planning to make the process much more streamlined.

The news comes from a Microsoft blog post which was aptly titled "A new era of the PC." Introducing Android apps is certainly a new era for Windows, and it's not happening a minute too soon. Microsoft has announced that the update should be available as early as February 2022, although it's still unclear whether the full extent of the Android update will be rolled out right away. For now, Microsoft refers to it as "A public preview of how you can use Android apps on Windows 11."

Android apps will allegedly be available through the Microsoft Store, making it much easier to use certain apps than it ever used to be through various emulators. In October 2021, early screenshots of the feature leaked, first shared on the Chinese social media platform Bilibili.

Android on Windows 11: Which apps will be available?

Bilibili via Windows Latest

Although Microsoft was not very forthcoming in its blog post, early leaks of the feature give us an idea of what Android on Windows 11 may look like. A total of three screenshots leaked, including a shot of the Microsoft Store and two apps. Keep in mind that all of this needs to be taken with a grain of salt until Microsoft actually rolls out the update: A lot may have changed since last October, 2021.

In the early screenshots shared by an anonymous source on Bilibili (via Windows Latest), we can see several interesting things. Most importantly — and this seems to be confirmed by Microsoft itself in their latest update shared this week — the feature will likely come as an optional update in the Microsoft Store. One of the screenshots shows an app called "Windows Subsystem for Android" available for download. This is consistent with an already existing Microsoft Store program, Windows Subsystem for Linux, so there may be some merit to it.

The other two screenshots included Android apps in what the source suggested was Windows 11 (with an early release of a Windows 11 update and/or crafty footwork with the code available in Windows 11 back in October, 2021.) One is fairly straightforward, showing the WeChat Android app on Windows 11. The second screenshot suggested the potential for receiving notifications from Android apps on Windows 11, and that Microsoft might support pinning apps to the Windows 11 taskbar.

Android apps on Windows are a welcome addition

Android and Windows joining forces makes perfect sense, and a more streamlined experience is definitely something people miss. Of course, many Android apps already have Windows versions, such as WhatsApp with its desktop client. However, there are also plenty that don't, and this could be the early days of something that will one day resemble the synergy presented by Apple.

Apple's family of devices typically offers a balanced user experience, whether you're using an iPhone or a MacBook. iOS users who choose to swap to Android may miss the way their devices used to connect seamlessly, making file transfer and various other tasks easy between platforms.

Microsoft must recognize the need to make supporting mobile apps easier for PC users, so the Android update is not a surprise. However, that doesn't make it any less welcome. How efficient the feature is going to be, and which apps will be supported, still remains to be seen.