Microsoft Ending Windows Subsystem for Android Support in Windows 11

Microsoft is planning to end support for its Windows Subsystem for Android component in Windows 11.

The end of support for Windows Subsystem for Android in Windows 11 is slated for March 5, 2025, per an "Important" notice in this Microsoft document. That notice tersely added that "customers that have installed the Amazon Appstore or Android apps prior to March 5, 2024, will continue to have access to those apps through the deprecation date of March 5, 2025."

Usually, Microsoft wouldn't be expected to suggest that users run its unsupported software. The terse note, though, seems to be addressed to the developer community, rather than Android application users.

There seems to have been no other public announcement from Microsoft about the end of Window Subsystem for Android. It's described at this GitHub discussion page, where a developer complained that they had spent time working on an API for the Amazon Appstore.  Another person in that thread complained that "there are virtually no apps in the Amazon Appstore."

In any case, Microsoft seems to be throwing in the towel on this approach for running Android apps on Windows 11. Windows Subsystem for Android provided a Hyper-V virtual machine that was compatible with the Android Open Source Project framework. Microsoft had previewed Window Subsystem for Android in 2021, when just 50 Android apps from the Amazon Appstore were said to be supported.

Users needed the Amazon Appstore, available through the new Microsoft Store, to be able access the Android apps using Windows Subsystem for Android. The new Microsoft Store is capable of housing other app stores, but it seems to have not housed the Google Play store for accessing Android apps.

The ability to install the Google Play store for use with Windows Subsystem for Android possibly never happened officially, although this 2024 article offered steps on how to do such a thing. Many people trying to install the Google Play store instead got a malware loader, as explained in a 2022 article. The confusion about the Google Play store being available for Windows Subsystem for Android was captured in this 2022 Microsoft Community discussion page.  

Microsoft seems to have stayed mostly mum about Windows Subsystem for Android over the years. That quietness seems to be in notable contrast with Windows Subsystem for Linux, which got frequently promoted as a popular tool for developers working on Windows systems.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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