Windows 11 supporting Android apps is an interesting idea, but experts say it might not be as big of a deal as you think—at least not yet.
Microsoft originally debuted support for Android apps on your PC via the Amazon App Store when it first revealed Windows 11 earlier this year. The latest update for Windows Insiders finally brings the new feature to the operating system.
While it might seem like an important addition—and some will find it useful—experts say that Android apps on PCs have a long way to go before making much of a difference for general consumers.
“The new Windows 11 feature makes sense for social media services, streaming platforms, and other similar apps,” Dmytro Reutov, a senior Android developer with ClearVPN, told Lifewire in an email. “It’s all about content consumption as the main activity.”
One of the most important things to keep in mind with the launch of built-in support for Android apps on Windows 11 is the overall availability of the apps you can download and use. As Reutov pointed out, most of the offerings in the Amazon App Store right now include those that revolve around content consumption—video games, the Kindle app, and the list doesn’t expand much from there.
“The Android ecosystem has always been fragmented, which has both positives and negatives.”
Sure, there are a few kid-based learning apps, but overall the primary goal of this feature right now seems to be letting people consume content from their Android apps on the PC.
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with content consumption, some believe that Microsoft could do more with its new feature—like offering new education options for children and students.
“I think there is much potential in the seamless integration of Android and Microsoft technology in providing a more interactive learning experience for children.” Hays Bailey, the CEO of Sheqsy, developer of a workforce safety app, wrote in an email. “You can only imagine how much teachers and learners can do by using these apps side-by-side with Microsoft’s productivity tools.”
Unfortunately, the issue with tools and productivity apps is many of them often rely on the specific operating system they’re running on, Reutov noted. The virtualization system that Windows 11 uses does run apps smoothly, but it remains to be seen if it can offer a seamless experience with more utility-based apps that you might use on your smartphone a lot.
With over 1.3 billion devices running Windows 10, it’s safe to say that Microsoft’s operating systems are some of the most used by consumers worldwide. Many of those are eligible to upgrade to Windows 11, which means the door to make this feature something special is wide open. Bringing Android apps to the OS gives Microsoft and Amazon a chance to explore new possibilities, especially in education and productivity.
While it’s disappointing that we don’t see any support for this feature from Google, it’s possible we could see better app options in the future. But, unfortunately, some barriers need to be overcome.
“The Android ecosystem has always been fragmented, which has both positives and negatives,” Suyash Joshi, an experienced developer, and Android expert told Lifewire in an email.
According to Joshi, developing apps for the Amazon App Store requires extra work because that store doesn’t support many of the popular services that Google offers users on the Play Store. This has possibly already limited the number of apps available on the Amazon store—there are roughly 460,000 apps compared to the Play Store’s 3 million—and Joshi believes it could further limit which apps are available through the Windows 11 feature.
If we’re going to have apps that people want to use, Joshi says there may need to be incentives to help draw developers to the Amazon App Store. And with the Google Play Store serving as the default app store on Android, it’s possible many users aren’t aware of the offerings found on the Amazon App Store. If Amazon can draw more users in, there may be more reason to bring useful productivity apps to Windows 11, instead of simply focusing on games nd entertainment apps.