Android Subsystem for Windows placeholder app appears in the Microsoft Store

Microsoft Insider testers may get to try out the Android Subsystem for Windows sooner rather than later, based on the existence of a placeholder app in the Microsoft Store.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor
Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft is working to bring Android apps to Windows 11 via a deal with Amazon and a new Android Subsystem for Windows. Company officials acknowledged this week that this feature wouldn't make it in time for the start of the mainstream rollout of Windows 11 on October 5. However, Insider testers may get to try this out sooner rather than later, given the appearance of a placeholder Android Subsystem for Windows app in the Microsoft Store.

Microsoft sleuth The Walking Cat discovered a Windows Subsystem for Android app in the Store on September 2. I downloaded the app from the Store onto my Windows 11 test machine. There was nothing there but a blank screen when I opened it. But the placeholder app does seem to be from Microsoft and has a "Microsoft Confidential -- For testing purposes" tag on it.

A screenshot of the app in the Store features an Amazon AppStore logo and the tagline "Android apps on your PC: Your favorite mobile apps now on Windows."

I am doubtful that Microsoft plans to deliver the entire Android Subsystem for Windows as a Store app. Instead, I'm guessing this app could be something like an installer or updater for system components, similar to the way the Gaming Service app in the Store, which installs systems services, drivers and the like.

Earlier this year, Microsoft officials said the coming Android subsystem will provide a proxy native app between the Android app model and the Windows app model. There will be a virtual machine that provides compatibility for the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), which provides custom variants of Android that don't require Google Play Services support. And that's why the Amazon Store was mentioned during Microsoft's Windows 11 launch event today -- Amazon's FireOS is based on AOSP.

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