The launch date of Windows’ next big version has already been announced. While it’s not as big an upgrade as Windows 10, Microsoft’s Surface changes (pun intended) are enough to pique people’s curiosities. Of course, there are underlying changes also, but a minimum of one major advertised feature of Windows 11 won’t be available at launch time. Microsoft is pushing back the power to run Android apps directly on Windows 11 PCs, with the ultimate feature release slate probably sometime in mid-2022.
Of course, there are already various ways to run Android apps on Windows 10 today, starting from virtualization technologies like BlueStacks to OEM-specific integrations like those from Samsung. They are, of course, all indirect methods that need quite just an additional layer between Windows and Android. Microsoft promised a seemingly native experience, but early Windows 11 adopters won’t be ready to experience that immediately.
In its launch date announcement for Windows 11, Microsoft casually mentioned that Android apps integration would “start with a preview for Windows Insiders over the approaching months.” Given the traditional timeframe for feature testing, that definitely won’t arrive in time for the large October 5th date. Earliest would be sometime in 2022, perhaps mid-2022, in time for the overall rollout of Windows 11 for all eligible users.
Microsoft doesn’t give any explanation for the delay, but it’s not hard to imagine running into some technical issues that it must resolve alongside Amazon and Intel. For example, running Android apps “directly” on Windows 11 will still need some software layers that would affect performance. There’s also the consideration that Amazon’s implementation won’t have direct access to Google Play Store apps and services, affecting the functionality of apps that believe those.
The delay could be simplest since most Windows PCs won’t be getting the Windows 11 upgrade immediately anyway. That October 5th launch date only marks the beginning of a phased and measured rollout; therefore, the majority of users will still need to wait next year to urge their turn. Microsoft, Amazon, and Intel will hopefully iron out the kinks to supply an Android on Windows experience that Google and Samsung would be jealous of by then.