Highly anticipated Windows 11 feature is now being removed

  • Microsoft is killing its Android app support for Windows 11.
  • The feature was initially included in the marketing leading up to the operating system’s launch, and had users excited.
  • It turns out that it was never really that good to begin with, and people didn’t end up using Android apps on Windows 11 all that much.

In the lead-up to the launch of Windows 11 in 2021, Microsoft PC users clapped and gasped in uproar as the Redmond, Washington firm proclaimed proudly that the new operating system would, among a laundry list of new features, allow integration with Android apps.

Now Microsoft is set to remove the feature completely, according to a blog post published on Tuesday. According to Microsoft, Android apps will no longer be supported officially as of 5th March 2025, so users have a whole year to enjoy it while it lasts.

Android app support was one of the most anticipated additions to the operating system, aside from the promise of widgets, UI improvements and performance upgrades for gamers.

Android app support came a while after the launch through the Microsoft-maintained virtual machine (VM) called Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA), basically a functionality that lets users install and run any kind of Android app on the OS.

“Microsoft is ending support for the Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA). As a result, the Amazon Appstore on Windows and all applications and games dependent on WSA will no longer be supported beginning March 5, 2025. Until then, technical support will remain available to customers,” the company explains.

After the March 2025 date, access to the Amazon Appstore will be lost, and all functionality related to any Android apps on your system will also be lost. Microsoft hasn’t explained why it is cutting support for WSA.

But it seems, according to a report from Ars Technica, that the promise of Android apps on Windows might have always been a fairy tale. Windows users had to use the Amazon Appstore to download apps, because the OS can’t access the Google Play Store or the official Android app store without workarounds.

The Amazon store has a smaller selection of apps compared to both the Google store and the Android store, and thus users may have naturally moved away from it and towards apps that run natively on Windows. This meant that the WSA function was seeing less and less use over time, which led to its current predicament.

After March 2025, users will have to delve into more technical means to get Android apps on Windows 11, such as sideloading the Google Play Store – which can be done with a script tool.

As for Windows 11 itself, reports are that Microsoft is already working on Windows 12 and that Windows 11 never quite reached the heights of its predecessors. The latest stats have that 400 million users are on Windows 11 every month, while Windows 10 saw 1 billion users just before Windows 11 was launched.

Overall the operating system was not received warmly by users, with top complaints being struggles with backwards compatibility of programmes, stringent hardware requirements, odd changes to a classic UI which made it more difficult for users instead of easier and much more. We’ll see what Microsoft learns for Windows 12. Spoiler alert: it will be the “AI-powered OS.”

[Image – Photo by Windows on Unsplash]


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