One of Windows 11’s highlights is its support for running Android apps without emulation or a “remote desktop” connection. That feature, however, won’t be coming until next year, at least not in the form that Microsoft wants end users to experience it. That’s not to say that it isn’t actively working on preparing the feature, which would require the same subsystem that Windows 10 got for running Linux. Curiously, it seems that Microsoft may have bigger plans for it than it let on and might even make it available for its Xbox consoles in the future.
Microsoft’s advertised scenario involves Windows 11 users combing through the Microsoft Store to install Android apps on their PCs. On the surface, this integration comes from the Amazon Appstore, and Microsoft has already mentioned it was working with both Amazon and Intel to make it happen. Behind the scenes, however, it will most likely use the same technology that made running Linux distributions possible on Windows 10.
That technology is also similarly named as Windows Subsystem for Android, and that surprisingly popped up in the Microsoft Store. It doesn’t do anything at the moment, of course, but it may have some clues regarding the direction Microsoft wants to take it. It might, for example, be available for testing when Windows 11 launches this year, even if the Amazon Appstore integration with Microsoft Store won’t.
The more interesting bit is that the system requirements mention the Xbox One, hinting that it might be possible to run Android apps on Xbox consoles in the future. Although you are unlikely to use mobile productivity app there, games and entertainment apps won’t feel out of place on a console that also serves as a home entertainment hub.
Of course, that is still just speculation at this point, and Microsoft could easily change the rules closer to Windows 11’s launch. We’ll just have to wait and see what plans Microsoft has for running Android apps on Windows, but it could potentially be better than relying on third-party emulators, except for the lack of Google Play apps and services.