Microsoft is rolling out the first major Windows 11 updatebringing improvements to the taskbar, new Media Player and Notepad apps, and support for running Android apps – something that was only available to members of the Windows Insider Program until now .
The official way to run Android apps is to install the Amazon Appstore preview from the Microsoft Store and use it to find Android apps to install. Corn unofficially? You can also download Android apps from other sources or even install the Google Play Store.
This is because Android app support is provided by a new optional feature called Windows Subsystem for Androidwhich essentially installs a full Android OS on your Windows 11 computer and then allows it to communicate with the host OS so apps show up in the Start Menu, Taskbar, Snap Layouts, application switcher, among others.
Sideloading is therefore relatively easy, and more advanced users can also modify the entire subsystem for Android to gain root access and install Google Play Services.
If you don’t want to jump through those hoops, Microsoft says more than 1,000 Android apps are available for Windows 11 users to download from the Amazon Appstore, including Amazon’s own Audible and Kindle apps as well as third-party apps and games, including Subway Surfers and Khan Academy Kids.
Then again, you might not need to do these things to interact with Android apps on a Windows PC. It looks like Google is bringing support for streaming apps from your phone to Windows, Mac, or Chrome OS devices with Android 13, which is expected to launch later this year.
Other changes in the latest version of Windows 11 include:
- the date and time are now visible on all monitors when using multi-display setups.
- There is a weather icon in the left corner of the taskbar. Hover over it to open the Widgets table.
- In a Microsoft Teams call, you can disable, re-enable or share any window from the taskbar
- Microsoft’s new Media Player The app replaces Groove Music (and the classic Windows Media Player before it) with a modern-looking video and music player and manager featuring keyboard shortcuts, playlist management, and more.
- New Notepad The app has a Windows 11-style user interface, dark mode support, streamlined menus and emoji support, an updated find and replace experience, and of a cancellation at several levels.
The new Media Player and Notepad apps aren’t installed by default though – Windows 11 users can download them from the Microsoft Store.