Microsoft could bring Android apps to the Windows desktop in 2021
Microsoft is rumoured to be considering adding Android apps to Windows in 2021. Although runtime apps such as Bluestacks can offer Android emulation, the move from Microsoft would see apps available to download and run, alongside UWP and Win32 apps. According to a report from Windows Central, internal talks are ongoing over whether it would be possible to add an Android runtime to Windows 10, probably in time for a major revamp of Microsoft’s operating system, expected in the Fall of 2021.
Microsoft first adopted Android as its preferred mobile operating system when Windows 10 Mobile was all but abandoned in 2017. The company already offers a mobile version of most of its apps for Android, and users of the Windows Your Phone app are able to run multiple apps from compatible smartphones on the desktop, but this service is currently limited to Samsung users. Adding direct access to Android apps would be a major upgrade to Windows 10, putting it on a direct collision course with Google’s Chromebook range which can run ChromeOS, Android apps, and Linux packages simultaneously. With access to the Chrome browser, and rumours of a GUI for the Linux runtime in the pipeline, the addition of Android apps would make Windows a near-universal operating system.
Meanwhile, the company is said to finally have Windows 10X, a version of the OS that will eventually be aimed at multi-screen devices, ready to RTM before the end of the year, with an expectation that we’ll see products running it in early Spring of 2021. Windows 10X has been branded as Microsoft’s “Chromebook killer” and if Android apps were a part of the offering, that moniker might well have been earned.
Whilst there’s no concrete information on this, we’re already musing on how it could even work. Would it run Google Play Services, and if not, does that mean no Play Store either? One idea is that Windows could include an Android section in the Microsoft Store, but that presents its own problems for existing Android owners who could end up paying for an app at two different stores, and have different save data on different devices.
It’s clear that the idea would need a bit of fleshing out, and indeed, let’s not forget that it could all come to nothing. But if it does, it could represent the biggest shake-up in the desktop/laptop market for some considerable time.