How to run Android apps on a Windows PC

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Running Android apps in Windows 11 is now just as easy as running apps on your phone.

Microsoft and Amazon have partnered to make thousands of Amazon-curated Android apps and games available that run in Windows 11 just like standalone programs.

As it stands, this feature is marked as a preview, which leaves a bit of room for crashes, bugs, and rough edges should they crop up here and there. I’ve been using it for a while and the potential is definitely there.

I do think it will get even better. And if you’re looking for a full-featured Android experience and are willing to put in a little work to set it up, stick around until the end of this article – I’ll tell you about another option called BlueStacks.

However, Microsoft’s solution right now is as simple as it gets. Here’s how to get started.

Launch the Microsoft Store

You have to open the Microsoft Store in order to then download the Amazon Appstore, which is a bit confusing – this whole process will ideally streamline over time.

Open the Microsoft Store by clicking the Start button and searching for it. From there, search for “Android” or “Amazon” to find your way to the Amazon Appstore.

Browse to the Amazon Appstore page and click Install.

initial setup

When you start the Amazon Appstore for the first time, you will be prompted to perform a one-time installation of virtualization software. It basically brings some Android-y underpinnings into Windows so it can run Android apps reasonably gracefully.

Go through this process and you will be prompted to restart your computer. After restarting, the Amazon Appstore should appear and you will be presented with a bunch of apps.

That’s all. In a minute or two you’ll have your Windows 11 computer ready to run Android apps.

The actual experience

Since this is a preview, things are still a bit sparse. The apps front basically presents you with “Editor’s Picks” apps, kid-friendly stuff, and then a list of all the apps and games with no filtering or sorting option. There also doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to how the full list is ordered, and the games seem to outperform other types of apps by a one-page amount.

The Editor’s Picks consisted of a meager 23 apps for me, but hopefully that will grow over time. There’s also a dedicated games section that’s a bit more fleshed out, but again, it feels a lot like a preview.

The apps themselves open in their own windows, just like PC apps. However, they are in no way PC-optimized.

the Washington Post App loaded, for example, greeted me at their new tablet app, and then advised me that I can zoom in on different stories with two fingers. I haven’t figured out how to pinch my mouse yet, but I think I’ll keep working on it.

All in all, it’s dead easy to set up and seems to have some potential. It just needs time to bake a little more.

Something more Android-y

For a fuller Android experience, I recommend a venerable free Android emulator called BlueStacks.

Setup is a little more complicated, but it’s not rocket science. You basically select an Android device you want to emulate from a list of popular phones and tablets, and then have access to . . . Well Android. It is also available for Mac and earlier versions of Windows.

While you are using the windows route the Washington Post One click app in its own window, for example with BlueStacks you basically tap an icon on a virtual phone or tablet screen and see the app exactly as it would on a real Android device.

It’s a minor difference, but the Windows way just feels a little more natural at the moment. However, keep in mind that the BlueStacks route gives you far more apps and games – not just the ones Amazon has scooped up for its store.

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