One of the big features of Windows 11 is Android app support. Just like Windows 10 famously introduced a "Windows Subsystem for Linux" to provide Windows computers a way to run Linux programs without the need of actually using Linux, Windows 11 also wants to bring native Android app support to PCs using something called Windows Subsystem for Android.
However, that was notably absent from the initial release of Windows 11, presumably because it wasn't quite ready to go yet. Users that are interested in trying out Android apps on their Windows 11 PC, though, will be glad to know that Microsoft has started rolling it out to some users. Here's how to check it out by yourself.
Check if You're In the Insider Program
The new Windows Subsystem for Android is currently available only to some Windows 11 users on the Insider Program, particularly to those receiving updates on the Beta branch. So if you want to ensure you'll get prompt access to Android apps on your computer, the first course of action is to go into your computer's settings, go into Update & Security/Windows Update, and check your Insider Program status.
If you're not on the Windows Insider Program, whether you're running stable Windows 10 or Windows 11, you'll want to enroll. Go into the Windows Insider Program section, link your account, then follow the steps to get your computer enrolled. Make sure to select the Beta update channel, since that's the one you need to get Android app support.
If you're already on the Insider Program, probably because you wanted to try out Windows 11 earlier than everyone else, check if you're on the Beta release channel by going into the Windows Insider Program section in Update & Security/Windows Update. Chances are that you are, but if you're in the Release Preview channel, switch it to Beta before continuing.
Afterward, just wait until your computer finishes grabbing updates, and you're pretty much done.
Download the Amazon Appstore
The official storefront for Android apps on Windows 11 is Amazon's own app store, the aptly named Amazon Appstore. Windows isn't going to come with the new Subsystem for Android out of the box, so the next step you'll want to do is to grab the Amazon Appstore from the Microsoft Store. Just go to the official Amazon Appstore listing (which you can find here).
If you did everything correctly and your computer is compatible, the Microsoft Store should now walk you through downloading the Amazon Appstore and the Windows Subsystem for Android and help you get everything set up. From there, it's just a matter of checking out the available apps and getting to using Android apps and games natively on your PC.
What Else Should I Know?
Windows' support for Android is still in a very early stage. For one, the Amazon Appstore on Windows 11 currently indicates that it's a "preview." And one of the main takeaways of it being a preview is the relatively low amount of apps that are available for PC right now—the selection is currently only limited to 50 apps, which were handpicked by Microsoft and Amazon, presumably because they're currently working fine on Windows 11 PCs.
People have also managed to sideload APKs on Windows 11, essentially going around the Amazon Appstore and basically allowing the installation of pretty much any app. However, depending on the app, your mileage can vary wildly, as Microsoft still has stuff to polish before it gets rolled out to a wider public. Games, for one, can either run amazingly or very, very poorly.
Windows 11 Now Runs Android Apps
First, it was with Linux, and now we're seeing Microsoft fully embrace Android. It seems clear Microsoft's current north for Windows is to turn it into an all-in-one operating system that can run anything and fit everyone's needs, no matter how niche those needs are. Android app support was a big selling point for Chromebooks, but now, Windows 11 PCs with Android app support could give Chromebooks a run for their money.