Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Three years ago, Android app support was touted as a major selling point for Windows 11. But Microsoft is making a complete heel-turn. It’s officially ending support for the Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA), and it will completely shutter the PC-based Amazon Appstore on March 5th, 2025.

Microsoft hasn’t provided a reason for this unprecedented move. However, it seems that very few people use Android apps on Windows 11. Mobile apps and games that are worth playing on a PC usually receive a PC release, so an Android emulation layer is somewhat redundant. Not to mention, the Amazon Appstore contains far fewer apps than the Google Play Store, and some customers may have been displeased by an Amazon-branded platform within the Windows operating system.

The unpopularity of WSA must have come as a surprise to Microsoft. After all, Android app support was a lifeline for ChromeOS, and there are plenty of 2-in-1 touchscreen PCs that could benefit from a selection of mobile games. Apple also implemented mobile app support in its desktop operating system—it was a trend in 2020 and 2021.

And, while this may seem like a good opportunity to make fun of Microsoft, the Windows Subsystem for Android is actually pretty solid. It’s more optimized and streamlined than BlueStacks, the most popular Android emulation tool for PC. You can also sideload Android apps that aren’t available on Amazon’s Appstore.

Note that popularity may have nothing to do with this shutdown. Amazon is currently working on an in-house operating system to replace the Android-based Fire OS—maybe the shutdown is Amazon’s decision. Or, Microsoft may be passing the torch to Google, which recently launched its Android games platform for Windows 11. Without an official comment, all we have is speculation.

Microsoft says that previously installed Android apps will continue working as WSA depreciates. Plus, the Amazon Appstore will continue providing app installations and updates until March 5th of next year. However, as of tomorrow (March 6th), you can no longer install the Amazon Appstore itself, and developers cannot upload new Android apps for the Windows 11 operating system.

Source: Microsoft, Amazon

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By John P.

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