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Microsoft unveils Android apps for Windows 11

Microsoft has further teased the arrival of the Windows Subsystem for Android by detailing how the platform will work via a newly published document for Windows Insiders.

The document, spotted by inveterate Microsoft prodder “WalkingCat” makes for interesting reading for developers keen to make their applications work in the Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA).

WSA itself comprises the Android OS based on the Android Open Source Project 1.1 and, like the Windows Subsystem for Linux, runs in a virtual machine.

This is currently on the Windows Insider blog. (Note the “LINK COMING SOON”)

The brief note details how developers should set things up in Windows 11, deal with the inputs and outputs of Microsoft’s wares and finally submit apps. The latter step requires the use of the Amazon app-store.

“Your device,” warned Microsoft ominously, “also must meet specific Windows 11 requirements.”

The document was rapidly followed by a lengthier blog post detailing the tech’s arrival for Windows Insiders.

To kick things off, the Amazon Appstore (or an Android or Amazon app from the Microsoft Store) must be installed, which will also install the WSA. Once set up, a Settings app permits developers to adjust the platform, which includes options to disable hardware-accelerated graphics and choose whether or not WSA should be continually open in the background (and thus speed the opening of apps.)

Dev Channel Insiders on the bleeding edge of things might be forgiven for feeling a little left out, as – for the time being at least – the initial preview appears targeted at Windows Insiders in the Beta Channel.

In addition, only US users with a US-based Amazon account need apply (so a simple switch of Windows region is unlikely to do the trick.)

Other elements for app developers to consider are mouse and keyboard input on Windows devices. Resizing of the app (since it will be in-window) also merits consideration. “Android apps running on Windows 11,” said Microsoft, “can be freely resized, should be responsive in their resizing, and can be snapped using Windows actions/gestures.”

As expected, ARM applications will run on x86-based processors, although at an as-yet unknown cost to performance. “For optimal performance please submit your application for the x86-64 architecture,” said Microsoft.

Android applications on Windows 11 were trailed by Windows supremo Panos Panay during an occasionally wobbly stream unveiling the operating system in June. Intel Bridge Technology was required to work the magic, comprising a runtime post-compiler to permit ARM apps to fire up on AMD and Intel devices.

Amazon has also trumpeted the coming of the its Appstore (and a “limited selection” of apps) to Windows 11 today. ®




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