Microsoft is rolling out the first major update to Windows 11, bringing improvements to the Taskbar, new Media Player and Notepad apps, and support for running Android apps – something that’s only been available for members of the Windows Insider program up until now.

The official way to run Android apps is to install the Amazon Appstore Preview from the Microsoft Store and use it to find Android apps to install. But unofficially? You can also sideload Android apps from other sources or even install the Google Play Store.

Android apps

That’s because Android app support comes courtesy of a new optional feature called the Windows Subsystem for Android, which basically installs a full-blown Android operating system on your Windows 11 computer and then allows it to communicate with the host operating system so that apps show up in the Start Menu, Taskbar, Snap layouts, app switcher, among other things.

So sideloading is relatively easy, and more advanced users can also modify the entire subsystem for Android to do things like gain root access and install Google Play Services.

If you don’t want to jump through those hoops, Microsoft says more than 1,000 Android apps are available for Windows 11 users to download from the Amazon Appstore, including Amazon’s own Audible and Kindle apps as well as third-party apps and games including Subway Surfers and Khan Academy Kids.

Then again, maybe you don’t need to do those things to interact with Android apps on a Windows PC. It looks like Google may be bringing support for streaming apps from your phone to Windows, Mac, or Chrome OS devices with Android 13, which is set to launch later this year.

Other changes in the latest build of Windows 11 include:

Taskbar

  • The date and time are now visible on all monitors when using multi-display setups.
  • There’s a weather icon in the left corner of the Taskbar. Hover over it to open the Widgets board.
  • When in a Microsoft Teams call, you can mute, unmute, or share any window from the Taskbar

New apps

  • Microsoft’s new Media Player app replaces Groove Music (and the classic Windows Media Player before that) with a modern-looking video and music player and manager featuring keyboard shortcuts, playlist management, and more.
  • The new Notepad app has a Windows 11-style user interface, Dark Mode support, simplified menus, and support for emojis, an updated find-and-replace experience, and multi-level undo.

The new Media Player and Notepad apps aren’t installed by default though – Windows 11 users can download them from the Microsoft Store.

via Windows Experience Blog

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  1. The Android subsystem is still limited. I am told it won’t work on my computer. In the description and in Microsoft’s release that you linked to it says that it is for US customers only.

    Any suggestions on workarounds? What’s really annoying is that I bought my laptop IN the US…

    But yeah, I’ve been craving me some Android integration (I also have various amazon apps which I like from back in the day they used to give many of them away

    1. You can just download the store app using a link generator (eg store.rg-adguard) and install it using powershell… just look for instructions on how to install store apps without account/store app (or how to install WSA outside of the US, I’m sure someone else has written up the whole procedure by now).

      From memory, in the store app click the share button when you’re looking at WSA, copy the link it gives you into the link generator, download the large msixbundle file, and using powershell add-appxpackage -path .