One of Windows 11’s highlights is its support for Android apps without emulation or a “remote desktop” connection. That feature, however, won’t be coming until next year, a minimum of not within the form that Microsoft wants end-users to experience. That’s not to say that it isn’t actively preparing the feature, which might require an equivalent subsystem that Windows 10 got for running Linux. Curiously, it seems that Microsoft may have bigger plans for it than it discloses 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 put Android apps on their PCs. On the surface, this integration comes from the Amazon Appstore, and Microsoft has already mentioned it had been working with both Amazon and Intel to form it happen. Behind the scenes, however, it’ll presumably use an equivalent technology that made running Linux distributions possible on Windows 10.
That technology is similarly named Windows Subsystem for Android, which surprisingly popped up within the Microsoft Store. It doesn’t do anything at the instant, of course, but it’s going to have some clues regarding the direction Microsoft wants to require it. It might, for instance, be available for testing when Windows 11 launches this year, albeit 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’d be possible to run Android apps on Xbox consoles in the future. Although you’re unlikely to use mobile productivity app there, games and entertainment apps won’t check out of place on a console that also is a home entertainment hub.
Of course, that’s still just speculation now, and Microsoft could easily change the principles closer to Windows 11’s launch. We’ll need to wait and see what plans Microsoft has for running Android apps on Windows, but it could potentially be better than counting on third-party emulators, apart from the shortage of Google Play apps and services.