Microsoft Plans Public Preview of Android Apps on Windows 11, More in February

Posted on January 26, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 11 with 5 Comments

Windows fans have wondered when or if Microsoft would make new Windows 11 features available ahead of the next feature update in late 2022. Today, we finally got a partial answer: the software giant plans to release a “public preview” of these features in February.

“Next month we’re bringing new experiences to Windows that include a public preview of how you can use Android apps on Windows 11 through the Microsoft Store and our partnerships with Amazon and Intel,” Microsoft chief product officer Panos Panay writes in a post about “the new era of the PC.” “[This public preview will also include] taskbar improvements with call mute and unmute, easier window sharing, bringing weather to the taskbar, [and] two new redesigned apps, Notepad and Media Player.”

This is both good and bad news.

First, I’ve always suspected that Microsoft would ship new Windows 11 features ahead of the next feature update. After all, Windows 11 arrived too quickly and in horribly incomplete form in October, and it has far too many regressions and missing features to stand on its own for an entire year. But Microsoft had been pretty quiet about its plans to update Windows 11 midstream to date. And so this revelation is quite welcome.

It’s also incomplete. We have no idea what form this public preview will take and how or if it will differ from the way Microsoft is currently testing new Windows 11 features via the Windows Insider Program. For example, every new feature he mentions is already available to Insiders now.

Worse, this is a rather small set of functional additions. He mentions just four new features—though, granted, one is quite major and eagerly anticipated—three of which were part of the summer 2021 Windows 11 introduction. And just two new apps, neither of which are exactly major advances or even necessary in any way. And seriously, “bringing weather to the taskbar”? This is both a regression and inane. Big deal.

So sure, I’m happy to see something happening. But the terrible communications and plodding nature of Windows development continues unabated. And I wish this part of the company—which claims that “details matter”—would provide more details than this.

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Comments (5)

5 responses to “Microsoft Plans Public Preview of Android Apps on Windows 11, More in February”

  1. lvthunder

    That article has a bunch of interesting statistics in it. I suggest anyone who is interested in what Panos thinks the shifts have been during the pandemic should read the article Paul linked above.

    • graememeyer

      "[Time spent on Windows 11 PCs is up 40% compared to Windows 10]" could also read as "shit takes 40% longer on Windows 11" which is funny

  2. blue77star

    I tried Windows 11 and has no compelling features I would be interested in which leaves Windows 10 as a better option at least for me.

  3. hrlngrv

    Ah, any month now.

    I'd love to see the telemetry data comparing usage of, say, Netflix MSFT Store app, its Android app under Windows 11 3 months after general availability, and curmudgeons like me accessing Netflix via browser.

    I use the Android VLC app on my Chromebook. Its UI sucks because I need to use mouse gestures to mimmic phone gestures (I'd prefer to use the physical keyboard). If Android apps running under Windows 11 are anything like that, kindly include me out.

  4. brettscoast

    Well, some good news at least. I would have thought Microsoft would use the feedback from the Windows Insiders program and its extensive userbase to fix a lot of what's wrong with Windows 11 but as usual clarity & communication are not their strong suit. Would be interesting to know if they are planning any changes\updates to Microsoft Edge.