Windows 11 receiving Android App Compatibility and other Improvements
Next month, Microsoft plans to launch a public preview of its Android apps for Windows 11, alongside some taskbar improvements and redesigned Notepad and Media Player apps. Windows chief Panos Panay outlined the upcoming changes to Windows 11 in a blog post, and these seem to be a part of Window 11’s first big update.
The taskbar improvements include a mute and unmute feature and likely the ability to show a clock on secondary monitors. Both were missing at the launch of Windows 11, but Microsoft is still working on improving the taskbar further to bring back missing functionality and other features such as ‘drag and drop’.
The upcoming update will also include a weather widget returning to the taskbar, something that Microsoft started testing only last month. Additionally, Microsoft is redesigning its standard Notepad and Media Player apps, both of which include dark modes and design tweaks that more closely match Windows 11.
The primary new addition will be Android apps on Windows 11, though. Panay says this will be a “public preview,” indicating that the feature will still be in beta when it’s widely available next month. Microsoft first started testing Android apps on Windows 11 with testers in October, and the feature allows you to install a limited number of apps from the Amazon Appstore. There are a variety of alternatives to allow Google Play store apps to run on Windows 11, such as emulators, but they aren’t officially supported by Microsoft.
Panay also shared various stats about how important Windows has become over the past couple of years. Windows 10 and Windows 11 now run on 1.4 billion devices each month, and the PC market has experienced strong growth over the pandemic.
“As we reflect on what’s driving this structural shift in PC demand and usage, we see three enduring trends: the rise in hybrid work and learning, shifts in entertainment habits and distribution models and changing consumer habits for everyday tasks,” says Panay.
Whether you like or dislike Windows 11 over previous versions of the system, from the new features it applies to the old features that it bypassed, it’s still a good sign that Microsoft is still willing to improve the OS further beyond its otherwise, quiet launch.