How the Android 13 app on Windows 11 can fill the void left by native desktop apps

Windows 11 includes a number of new features, including an improved start menu, increased instant layout customization, and increased interaction of apps and services with Microsoft. One of the best upgrades is Windows Subsystem for Android, which lets your PC run Android apps. The subsystem was first launched in preview.

However, it has since removed this restriction with a major Windows 11 2022 upgrade. Microsoft don’t sit back and take things easy either. With the transition to the latest Android 13 operating system, it has already planned to improve the subsystem.

When Microsoft revealed native Android app support in its Windows 11 operating system last year, it had a significant impact. This new feature was made available through the release of the Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) and a partnership with Amazon for the Amazon App store. Users were eagerly waiting for Android app support for Windows.


How important is the alliance between Microsoft and Android on Windows 11?

Android functionality on Windows (which is still in preview) does not use Google’s version of Android and does not provide access to the vast selection of apps available in the Google Play Store. Thus, there is a valid explanation for the limited availability. Windows 11 uses the Android open source project and relies on Amazon for the App Store.

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The Amazon Appstore has over 1,000 apps, but the vast majority of them are games. The only two notable apps are, of course, both from Amazon: the Audible app for listening to audiobooks and the Kindle app for reading books purchased through Amazon. You can use your expensive laptop as if it were an Amazon Fire tablet by running software on a tablet such as the Surface Pro X or Surface Pro 8 using Windows 11which isn’t exactly an attractive offer for potential customers.

Majority of Android users’ favorite apps are not available on the Amazon Appstore. You won’t be able to discover home automation tools to manage the lights, thermostat, and other smart home features you use on a daily basis. There are very few news-related apps, no music services (not even Amazon Music), and no financial tools.


Upgrade Path

Microsoft also wants to add file transfer capabilities, thankfully simplifying data transfer between Windows and Android components of the system, in addition to upgrading the WSA to Android 13 on Windows 11. Windows system for Android, Microsoft will also offer local network access by default.

Shortcuts, an Android feature that allows apps to link to specific functions, is another upcoming enhancement. For example, messaging software might offer a shortcut to a regular user, saving you from having to manually navigate through the chat each time. Picture-in-picture mode is another feature that will be coming soon. Therefore, Windows users using Android media apps will be able to draw on the Windows UI.

Features locked in Microsoft's viewfinder as per roadmap goals set by them (Image via Github@microsoft/WSA)
Features locked in Microsoft’s viewfinder as per roadmap goals set by them (Image via [email protected]/WSA)

Compatibility

This feature is not available on all PCs. The Windows Subsystem for Android is currently only available in the United States, although this will certainly change in future releases. In addition, your computer must meet the following system requirements

  • Windows 11 version 22000.0 or higher, any edition
  • Microsoft Store version 22202.1402.0 or later
  • Architecture: X64 or Arm64
  • Processor: 8th Gen Intel Core i3 or later, AMD Ryzen 3000 or later, Qualcomm Snapdragon 8c or later
  • Memory: at least 8 GB of RAM (16 GB recommended)
  • Storage: an SSD drive
  • Virtualization: enabled in hardware

To check if your device is compatible, you don’t need to search for your system specs. An automatic compatibility tester is offered, much like with Windows 11. When you click the Get The Amazon Appstore link, the Microsoft Store app launches and directs you to the Amazon Appstore website. From there, you can confirm the compatibility of your system.

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Final Thoughts

The Windows Subsystem for Android was not intended for use on PCs with a keyboard and mouse, but rather on tablets with touch capabilities. An example of this design that works well is the Kindle app on a Surface tablet with detachable keyboard. In such a scenario, it is possible to use a single device for reading, entertainment, and running productivity programs.

However, at this early stage of Android on Windows, that’s pretty much the only success story. Amazon’s Appstore has a pitiful variety, and it’s hard to believe that A-list Android software developers will be persuaded to upload their products there in order to make them compatible with the small percentage of Windows machines.

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If Windows was available on tablets, this scenario would have had more legs. But with the failure of Windows 8, Microsoft very well put an end to this form size.

Windows Subsystem for Android via Windows 11 is therefore mostly just a proof of concept at the moment. It’s hard to find anything here that makes a stronger case than the fact that Microsoft hasn’t been able to persuade developers to build native apps for their Windows tablets.

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Edited by Dinesh Renthlei

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