Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) is coming later this year. Windows 11, Android apps can be installed on all devices (Intel, AMD and ARM), according to Microsoft.
Microsoft is adding Android Subsystem to Windows 11 that will enable support for Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and allow users to run Android apps on their desktop. This is similar to the way Linux GUI apps work in Windows 11 using the Linux subsystem (WSL).
AOSP is an open-source development project maintained by Google and anyone (including Microsoft) is free to contribute code, new features and fixes to the project repository. This has been an important factor in Microsoft’s continued development of Surface Duo OS and it’s now coming to Windows with the next-generation operating system.
Microsoft has been internally tweaking the project for their own purposes like Android apps support in Windows. In addition to AOSP, Microsoft is also working on its own Android subsystem, which will establish a proxy native app between the Android and Windows apps model to run apps on the desktop.
To improve Android apps experience on Windows, Microsoft is working with Intel and Amazon. While Amazon’s contribution is limited to its Appstore integration, Intel is working with Microsoft on the Bridge Technology, which is a runtime post-compiler for 86-based apps.
On Intel PCs, Intel Bridge will be used to run mobile apps. However, Intel Bridge won’t be needed on AMD or ARM, according to Microsoft representatives. Android apps will run all officially supported Windows 11 devices, regardless of processor and hardware requirements.
“On AMD & ARM, Intel’s bridge tech won’t be needed/used. On ARM devices, Android ARM apps won’t need emulation/bridge tech,” Microsoft officials said during the second Windows event aimed at developers.
Android apps are compiled for ARM, so bridge technology is apparently not needed. For AMD, it’s not yet clear how the feature will work, but Microsoft clarified that Bridge technology is not required or needed on AMD hardware, a move that will bring Android apps to more desktop users than originally expected.
While Android apps will be offered via Amazon Appstore, Microsoft has also confirmed users will also be able to sideload apps onto Windows 11. It would be possible to install APK files downloaded from third-party sources after enabling the developer mode.
There are still many things we don’t know about Windows 11’s Android support, but Microsoft officials have promised more details in upcoming support documentations.