New Google Move Might Complicate Android Apps in Windows 11

By | December 4, 2023

Running Android apps via the Amazon App store is one of the biggest features of Microsoft’s new Windows 11 operating system, but Google might have just complicated things a bit.

In a change of policy, Google is requiring app developers to embrace the new Android App Bundle standard, and move away from the APK file format that otherwise could have been used to sideload Android apps in Windows 11.

Although the change only applies to new apps listed on the Google Play Store starting August 2021 (and not third-party or private apps,) Google runs through some important notes in its announcement of the change. The first of those is that the new Android App Bundle format will replace APK as the standard publishing format. In fact, over 1 million apps are already using the Android App Bundle format, per Google.

This is great in the long term for Android. In the other note, Google mentions the new format allows for smaller app sizes, as well as security features — but this could still pose a bit of a problem in Windows 11.

That’s because the Amazon App Store’s catalog of apps is limited in scope. Many users are already hoping to sideload otherwise unavailable and popular Android apps by using APK files on Windows instead — which Microsoft said would be possible.

Android Apps on Windows 11

Of course, sideloading APKs poses security risks and other issues, but the reaction to the news seems to be upsetting Windows and Android fans. With APKs on the way out, it could be harder to sideload popular Android apps in Windows 11 come the time when the feature is available. The Android App Bundle format only works with Google Play, which depends on Google Play services, which appears to not support Windows 11.

Windows 11 will be coming this fall, and it comes with some new features other than the Android app support via the Amazon App Store. A visual redesign and multitasking features are two features. The new Widgets section, an improved tablet mode, redesigned File Explorer, and a new settings app are just some of the other changes.

You can beta test Windows 11 for yourself now via the Windows Insider Program in  just a few steps — without the Android app support, of course. Microsoft mentioned that this feature would be coming at a later point this year.

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