One of Windows 11’s biggest highlights won’t be available when the newest version of Windows launches next month. While end users will probably have to wait until next year to see Android apps running on Windows in action, Insiders might be getting a preview earlier than expected. It seems that Microsoft is preparing what it calls the Windows Subsystem for Android, and a batch of benchmarks paints a promising but potentially confusing picture of what performance to expect when the feature does finally roll out to the public.
Microsoft expects that most Windows 11 users will get their Android apps from the Windows Store that will somehow integrate with Amazon’s Appstore. Under the hood, however, it will rely on a new Windows Subsystem for Android that, in turn, is presumed to be based on the existing Windows Subsystem for Linux or WSL. The latter uses virtualization and emulation technologies that will always incur some performance hits, no matter how advanced they are.
There might be some concerns that running Android on top of WSL2 on top of Windows 11 would result in a poor user experience, but that might not be the case. Based on scores that have appeared on Geekbench, the Android version of the app running Windows prove to have promising performance. Granted, the scores are all over the place, but the average figures are definitely good.
That said, those same benchmarks raise doubts and questions, particularly regarding the devices these were tested on. On the one hand, it seems that the scores are comparable to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 that was used in last year’s Galaxy S20. On the other hand, some of the specs, like clock rates and the number of cores, don’t match up with existing Snapdragon chips.
There is, of course, the possibility that WSA will try to present the system as running on an ARM processor even while WSA is supposed to be optimized for Intel processors. At this point, it’s still too early to make any judgment on this Windows 11 feature, but it seems that Insiders will have some of the answers soon.