Microsoft today announced that Windows 11 will feature an updated Microsoft Store that includes Android apps, courtesy of the Amazon Appstore, and new policies intended to change the marketplace’s relationship with Windows developers. It should support UWP, Win32 and PWA apps.
Windows 11 technically won’t be the first version of the operating system to support Android apps. Windows 10 offered similar features—such as adding Android apps to the Start menu or pinning them to the taskbar—via the Your Phone ecosystem.
The devil is in the details. Your Phone required a PC and an Android smartphone connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Windows 11 will allow PC users to bypass that restriction by including Android apps in an updated version of the Microsoft Store.
Microsoft chief product officer Panos Panay said Windows 11’s support for Android apps arrived courtesy of the Amazon Appstore, an alternative to the Google Play Store most commonly used on Kindle Fire devices, as well as Intel Bridge.
Changes for Windows developers
Panay also said the Microsoft Store will feature new policies meant to benefit Windows developers. The biggest shift was the company’s decision to allow devs to implement their own content delivery and payment solutions rather than relying on the store itself.
Microsoft won’t take a cut of the revenues earned via custom payment solutions, Panay said, which should make the Microsoft Store more appealing to developers. This way they can enjoy the benefits of a central distribution platform without having to give up 30% of their revenues in exchange for that privilege. (See: the App Store.)
The ability to use third-party content delivery solutions should allow Windows developers to update their software without having to wait on Microsoft to approve the changes, propagate them to the Microsoft Store, and ship them to the app’s users. That process could take too long for devs looking to ship critical updates.
The store itself has been redesigned, too, in line with the rest of the user interface. Combine that visual upgrade with new developer policies and support for Android apps and Windows 11 should have a far more compelling Microsoft Store. But don’t worry — these changes to the store are also supposed to reach Windows 10.
Microsoft’s changes have already attracted the attention of some major developers: Panay said that Adobe Creative Cloud, Disney+, and popular Android apps like TikTok will be available via the new app store when Windows 11 debuts later this year.
Panay said that Microsoft plans to reveal more information about the changes Windows 11 will offer to developers at an event scheduled for later today.