Microsoft and Intel announced on Thursday that Intel Core-powered Windows 11 systems will be able to run apps designed for the Google Android platform. The move brings a host of useful apps and immersive games to upcoming PCs. Separately, the two companies said that Windows 11 systems will natively support multi-monitor connectivity using Intel's Thunderbolt 4 technology.
To bring Android apps to Windows 11, Intel developed its Intel Bridge technology, a runtime post-compiler that allows applications originally designed for various hardware platforms to run natively on x86-based devices. Intel's Bridge technology is a part of the company's XPU strategy, it is not limited to Android applications and x86 platforms, so eventually usage of the technology might be expanded to other areas.
It's unclear what Microsoft name-dropping the technology means. Intel's tech is rarely validated for AMD's Ryzen, for instance. But Microsoft also hasn't listed it as an exclusive feature that requires anything beyond the minimum specifications.
"Intel believes it is important to provide this capability across all x86 platforms and has designed Intel Bridge technology to support all x86 platforms (including AMD platforms)," Intel told Tom's Hardware in a statement. "However, Intel delivers platforms that result in an optimized experience making Windows platforms running on Intel Core processors the best choice."
Bringing Android apps to Windows 11 mimics Apple's native support of iOS programs on Apple Silicon-based Macs. This enables users to enjoy various types of software on the same screen. Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see whether Android apps will be able to work on Windows on Arm platforms.
"The combination of Windows 11 and Intel technologies and platforms offers unmatched performance, compatibility and experiences on Windows, and we are bringing people's favorite experiences from the phone to the PC with Intel Bridge Technology," said Gregory Bryant, Intel executive vice president and general manager, Client Computing Group.
In addition to running Android apps, Intel Core-based PCs with Thunderbolt 4 will support multi-monitor connectivity and Windows Snap technology right out of box. The move will greatly increase value of the Thunderbolt 4 technology in general and TB4-enabled displays in particular.
Intel said that it had already validated over 80 Intel Evo-certified laptop designs for Windows 11. These systems are based on the company's 10th and 11th Generation Core processors.
Update: June 24, 2:27 p.m. ET - Added comment from Intel confirming AMD support.