What is Intel Bridge Technology and how do Android apps run on Windows 11? It was also possible to run Android applications on pre-existing Windows; But how do you run them on Windows 11?
Until recently, users of the Microsoft operating system had to use third-party emulators such as Bluestacks to run Android applications on their devices. These emulators worked by running virtual versions of the Android operating system on a Windows computer.
What is Intel Bridge Technology
But with the introduction of Windows 11, Microsoft has come up with a solution that apparently makes Android applications run on Windows natively; Something like Apple’s Rosette 1 and 2 solution.
Now the question arises: how does this feature work?
Windows subsystem for Android
Shortly after the Windows 11 launch event, Microsoft unveiled more details on how to run Android apps on Windows in a separate event for developers. According to Ares Technica, a feature that Microsoft uses in Windows 11 is called the “Windows Subsystem for Android”.
Windows is now equipped with a similar feature called “Windows Subsystem for Linux” (WSL for short), which uses a set of Hyper-V capabilities to run Linux software on the actual Linux kernel in the Windows environment. . Hyper-V allows another operating system at the heart of Windows to access the lowest levels of hardware without intermediaries and without the need for independent Windows intervention. Compared to running an operating system on another operating system, this method consumes much less system resources.
The Android operating system uses the Linux kernel, and Microsoft has built only one Android framework on WSL to build the “Windows Subsystem for Android”. Therefore, it seems that Android x86 applications run directly on Windows 11 via Hyper-V without any simulation.
Both Windows and Android can run on x86 and ARM platforms; However, Windows runs better on x86 hardware and Android on ARM. Many Android apps have two versions for ARM and x86. For this reason, if you run the Android x86 app on a Windows x86 PC, the app will run natively without simulation. Similarly, if you run the ARM version of an Android app on an ARM-based Windows device (such as the Surface Pro X), the Android app will run natively.
Now if the Android app does not have x86 version, what is the task? This is where Intel comes in to help Microsoft.
Intel Bridge is the name of the technology that makes it possible to run Android apps natively on Windows 11. Coinciding with the Windows 11 launch event, Intel released a brief statement about its partnership with Microsoft and Bridge Technology.
What is Intel Bridge and how does it work?
If we want to give a very simple (and therefore not very accurate) answer to this question, Bridge is a translator who translates the ARM architecture instruction set into a way that x86 processors can understand.
More precisely, Intel Bridge is a runtime post-compiler that allows you to run Android applications on x86 platforms. Bridge technology is only part of Intel’s XPU strategy; A strategy that is not limited to Android apps and the x86 platform.
If we go back to the example of a translator, just as in the real world when translating a live event the translator is always a little behind the original language, there is some lag in converting the set of hardware architecture instructions to executable instructions for another architecture; Therefore, you can not expect the ARM version of Android applications to run well on Windows x86 software with native Windows software.
The interesting thing about Intel Bridge technology is that it is not limited to Intel processors. In fact, Microsoft has not announced a hardware prerequisite for using this technology, and if your computer has the minimum requirements to run Windows 11, it will be able to run Android apps using Bridge.
Intel said in a statement sent to Tom’s Hardware website:
Intel believes that providing this feature (running Android apps) on all x86-based platforms is crucial; Therefore, we designed the Intel Bridge to support all x86 devices, including AMD; However, Intel platforms provide a better user experience, so running Windows on Intel Core processors would be the best choice.
Intel says it has so far certified more than 80 laptops designed to run Windows 11. These devices use Intel Core 10th and 11th generation processors and will most likely be released later this year (this fall).
How do Android applications run on Windows 11?
According to the available information, the behavior of Android apps will be similar to native Windows software; That is, they can be found in the Start menu and pinned there or in the taskbar. Running Android apps will have an icon in the taskbar, and their windows can be resized, such as Windows software, to Minimize and Maximize. Also, the new and improved Snap feature in Windows 11 is compatible with Android apps.
How to download Android apps for Windows 11?
Android apps can be found and installed directly through the Microsoft Store app. Android apps in the Microsoft Store are officially available through the Amazon Store; So to install them, in addition to having a Microsoft account, you must also have an Amazon account. In addition, you should note that not all apps in the Google Play Store (especially Iranian apps) are in the Amazon App Store; However, most famous operas can be found in it.
The process of installing an Android app through the Windows Store may seem a bit complicated at first; But according to Microsoft, you will only be redirected to an Amazon registration page once to install the first Android app. After that, the process of downloading and installing Android apps will be no different from installing Windows apps, and all the processes related to downloading the app from Amazon will be done in the background without user intervention.
New Windows 11 Store With Microsoft’s new policies, developers no longer have to build their apps on the Windows Universal Platform (UWP). Developers can now offer traditional Windows apps (win32) and even APKs for release through the Windows Store.
Microsoft will now allow developers to host apps and in-app payment methods. Offering Android apps to the Amazon Store will not be limited, and Microsoft says it welcomes the arrival of Google Play and the Samsung Galaxy Store, and even non-Android stores such as Steam and Epic to the Microsoft Store.
In addition, Miguel Icaza, a Microsoft engineer, has confirmed that it is possible to install APKs (Android installation files) directly and out of the store on Windows 11. This means that theoretically installing Android apps on Windows 11 would be as easy as installing EXE and MSI files on Windows, and as a result, users would not be limited to apps in a particular store.
Will there be any restrictions on Android apps on Windows 11?
It is not yet clear whether Android applications on Windows 11 will have all of their features such as notifications or sync or other features available on Android phones or tablets. You should note that many of the capabilities of Android applications depend on Google Mobile Services (GMS for short). Although Android is an open source operating system, many Android applications owe their proper functioning to GMS APIs. That’s why, after Huawei was sanctioned, the company had to find a replacement for Google services, and some Android apps can still not be used on Huawei phones.
Applications that use GMS can be expected to not work well on Windows 11 if sided. Also, apps and games whose data is synced through Google Drive will not have this feature on Windows. However, since the Amazon App Store does not use GMS, if you install the Android app through the Amazon Store, it will most likely run smoothly. Amazon has been building alternative GMS APIs for years to run Android applications flawlessly.
Although the Amazon App Store is not as large as Google Play and some of the apps on it are not up to date, you can find most of the great and popular apps like Instagram and TikTok.
What do you think about the possibility of running Android apps on Windows? Has the lack of a specific application on Windows ever made you use Android emulators? If Windows 11 is officially released (and your hardware is compatible with it), which Android software will you install on your computer?