Windows 11 is out now, and while the launch of its promised native Android app support has been delayed, when it does arrive you'll be able to install Android apps through the overhauled Microsoft Store.
At least early on those apps will be from the Amazon Appstore, which Microsoft is integrating into its Microsoft Store for Windows. However, you'll have another way to add Android apps to your Start menu or taskbar: sideloading will work too.
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You'll have the option to install APK files, the standard filetype for Android apps, as reported by Gizmodo (opens in new tab). Miguel de Icaza, a Distinguished Engineer at Microsoft, confirmed that's the case in response to a question on Twitter. De Icaza is working on the Windows 11 Android project, which uses Intel Bridge Technology to run Android apps natively rather than in an emulator.
Hey, regardless of the Amazon/google App Store stuff, surely you’ll also just be able to load APKs from windows right?June 25, 2021
Allowing users to sideload Android apps means you won't merely be limited to Amazon Appstore's meager selection of software. You can grab APK files from third-party distributors (or even the Google Play Store if you know how (opens in new tab)) and install those on your Windows 11 machine. However, it's worth exercising due diligence to avoid installing apps with malware.
It's not entirely clear how this process will work as of yet. It'd be great if installing an APK was as simple as running a standard .EXE file (i.e. by double clicking it). As Gizmodo notes, some apps might not work, as they require certain device permissions, while Google’s apps need access to Google services and APIs.
Still, it's an exciting addition to the Windows 11 platform, and one that will let PC users tap into a far broader range of apps than they might be able to otherwise.