One of the most exciting features of Windows 11 is the ability to install Android apps. You can finally use some of your favorite mobile apps on your desktop computer. How did Microsoft make this happen? lets take alook.
What will you need
Support for Android apps hasn’t arrived as part of the initial release of Windows 11. As of October 2021, you can only install Android apps if you’re using the Windows 11 beta Insider Preview channel.
In the future, Android app support will reach all Windows 11 devices with the necessary virtual hardware support. Windows 11 laptops and desktops will run Android apps out of the box, just as Chromebooks do — just like the M1 Macs can run iPhone and iPad apps.
Intel Bridge . Technology
The apps are a bit like puzzle pieces — they only fit in certain places. Mac apps cannot run on Windows and Android apps cannot run on iPhone. In order to make Android apps work inside Windows 11, Microsoft had to do some smart things.
The secret behind Android apps in Windows 11 is Intel Bridge Technology (IBT). The technical term for IBT is “Runtime Post Translator”.
The interpreter is what tells your computer what to do with the code within the application. Without the translator, the application is basically a document written in a foreign language on your computer. Translators translate this document and put it into a package that a computer can understand.
later translator reassembles This code. In this case, the application is first compiled to run on Android, then Intel Bridge technology recompiles it with everything it needs to run in Windows 11. It literally links native Android functionality with native Windows functionality.
The important thing here is that Android app developers don’t have to worry about doing anything special to make their apps work on Windows. In theory any Android app can run inside Windows 11. That doesn’t mean they will all run completelyBut they must run.
Not just an emulator
This isn’t actually the first time that you can run Android apps in Windows. Emulators like BlueStacks have made this possible for a while, but there are some big trade-offs. Intel Bridge Technology is not an emulator.
Emulators create a virtual environment for applications to run in. It is basically a virtual Android device running on a Windows PC. This requires a lot of resources, which can put a strain on your computer and make things go slow.
IBT allows Android apps to run natively on Windows 11, just like regular Windows apps. Native Android features are translated to their native Windows counterparts. This means that you won’t be hitting your computer just to watch TikTok next to Microsoft Office.
Related: You can play Android games in your browser with BlueStacks X
Where do apps come from?
We know more about how Android apps work in Windows 11, but where do you get them from? Microsoft has teamed up with Amazon to offer Android apps through the Amazon Appstore. It’s the same App Store that comes with Fire tablets.
Installing an Android app from the Amazon Appstore is a very straightforward process. Simply install the Amazon Appstore from the Microsoft Store, then download Android apps as you normally would.
If the Amazon Appstore is not enough for you, it is also possible to sideload APK files. However, it is not as easy to do on Windows 11 as it is on an Android device. But it’s an option if there’s an app you really need.
Related: How to Download Apps on Amazon Fire Tablet
The main takeaway from Android apps on Windows 11 is that they work natively thanks to Intel Bridge technology. Gone are the days of relying on screen mirroring and emulators to run Android apps on your PC. Combined with Microsoft’s Your Phone apps, Windows and Android have never worked better together.
Related: How to link an Android phone to a Windows 10 PC using Microsoft’s “Your Phone” app