Microsoft Publishes Windows Subsystem for Android Guidelines for Devs

Posted on October 20, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Dev, Android, Windows 11 with 9 Comments

Microsoft this week published documentation for developers who wish to optimize their Android apps to run well in Windows 11. It was first spotted by the Walking Cat on Twitter.

“Windows Subsystem for Android enables your Windows 11 device to run Android applications that are available in the Amazon Appstore,” the documentation explains. “If you’re a developer interested in targeting Windows desktop devices and optimizing for the Windows operating system, this guide is for you.”

The guide provides details for configuring your Windows 11-based development environment, which will need to be in the Insider Program for now since this feature isn’t yet available. (It’s not even available to Insiders yet, but should be soon.) You will also have to install the Amazon Appstore for Android from the Microsoft Store, but the documentation notes that just installing an Android app from the Microsoft Store will trigger an automatic install of the Appstore for Android too. Interesting.

You will also need to make some configuration changes in a new Windows Subsystem for Android Settings app which will be available via Start > All Apps > Windows Subsystem for Android. And developers will likely need to make changes to their apps to account for the keyboard and mouse interfaces found in PCs, though some have already done this work for Chromebooks. There is more advice in there about window management and resizing, which makes sense.

Hopefully, we’ll get a first peek at the Windows Subsystem for Android soon, and we can certainly expect to see it in the Windows Insider Program by the end of the year.

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Comments (9)

9 responses to “Microsoft Publishes Windows Subsystem for Android Guidelines for Devs”

  1. crunchyfrog

    For some reason, I hear crickets chirping.

  2. matsan

    Why the hell do they name it "Windows Subsystem for X" (X being Linux or Android currently). Wouldn't "Android subsystem for Windows" be a better name??

    • beckoningeagle

      It seems counter intuitive but with some word substitutions it starts to make sense. Substitute Subsystem with Virtual Machine, add Apps at the end and it makes sense.

      Windows Virtual Machine for Android [Apps]

      • matsan

        Thank for clarifying ;-)

        Parallels can’t praise their marketing department enough for not using the slogan “Parallels - the macOS subsystem for Windows” but instead simply saying “Parallels - Run Windows on Mac”.

      • Jack

        Adding an apostrophe and hyphens can also help with the name: Windows' Subsystem-for-Android.

        Meaning the ‘Subsystem-for-Android’ is owned by ‘Windows’. 

  3. rob_segal

    Many Android devs don't even update their apps for tablets. I'm not hopeful they'll do it for PCs. With that said, a few good apps (ex. Kindle) benefits Windows.

  4. jimchamplin

    Will the performance be better than using My Phone or Dex? Certainly the selection of software won't be as good, what with it being Amazon's store.