Windows 11 launched on 5 October without one of its key features, but that doesn’t look like being the case for long. Native Android app support is now available in the Beta Channel of the Windows Insider Program, which anyone with a compatible device can sign up for.
However, there’s a big caveat: it's only officially available in the US for now. To access it elsewhere, you’ll need to set your Windows 11 device region to the US and have a US Amazon account. It’s not clear how long we’ll be waiting for Microsoft to roll the feature out to other countries.
A total of 50 Android apps are available for testing. These include games such as Lords Mobile and Coin Master, educational apps like Khan Academy Kids and the official Kindle app. It’s a drop in the ocean compared to the 3m+ you’ll find on the Google Play Store and over 600,000 available on the Amazon Appstore. Expect plenty more apps to be added over the coming weeks and months, but it’s not clear how close Microsoft will get to either of those figures.
The company has built a dedicated subsystem within Windows 11 to enable it, which is available across all platforms – every Intel, AMD and Qualcomm-powered device will be supported, provided it’s compatible with the new OS.
Microsoft is also trying to make it easier for developers to create mobile apps for Windows 11. Tools for debugging and testing early versions of apps are also being previewed. However, it’s not clear when we’ll see support for other third-party app stores such as the Epic Games Store.
It’s also difficult to predict when the feature will be fully rolled out in an update to all Windows 11 users. Hopefully we won’t be waiting until 2022, as has been rumoured.