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July 2, 2021

Why Allowing Android Apps In The Microsoft Store Is A Bad Idea?

by Brett Muscio in Windows

Humans are mobile-centric. We all use smartphones as our primary devices.

If we found a way to use our favorite mobile apps natively on our laptops, our lives would become much easier. And guess what, Microsoft is doing just that!

Microsoft recently announced their new OS update Windows 11, which brings android apps and games to the Microsoft Store for the first time. Several apps, including Tiktok, Disney+, Zoom, Adobe Creative Cloud, as well as Microsoft’s in-house apps like Microsoft Teams and Visual Studio, will be available in the Microsoft Store.

Considering that Android is dominant in the mobile OS space with around 73% market share, Android app support for Windows opens the Microsoft ecosystem for a wider audience. In short, you will be able to access thousands of android apps on your Windows PC.

From the surface, Windows 11 Android app support seems impressive.

But wait, is the devil hiding in the details of this update? Or is the update worth the hype?

Let’s find out!

Intel And Amazon Are Facilitating Windows-Android Marriage

In the past, Microsoft tried convincing Android app developers to make their apps Windows compatible. Well, that didn’t go well.

This time, Windows has teamed up with Intel to make Android apps work in Windows with little to no code changes needed by app developers. All thanks to Intel’s Bridge technology.

Although you will be able to discover Android apps on the Microsoft Store, you are not directly downloading the apps from there. You need to download the apps from the Amazon Appstore. To be more precise, Amazon Appstore will be integrated into the Microsoft store.

Yes, you will need an Amazon account to download Android apps from the Microsoft Store. Once you download the mobile applications, it will work like any other Windows application. You will be able to pin those apps in the taskbar or snap them alongside other apps and much more.

The Absence Of Google Play Services

Google Play Services are tools provided by Google to app developers on their platform to make their job easier.

For instance, Google Play Services allow developers to access user location, manage in-app purchases, send push notifications, connect with other applications, and much more. It also enables developers to use the latest interfaces for popular Google across several devices.

In short, Google Play Services is the lifeblood of Android applications.

And guess what, there is no Google Play Services support for Amazon Appstore. This implies that developers publishing apps on Amazon Appstore must put extra effort and money to support some app functions.

It is no wonder why so many Android applications are not available on the Amazon Appstore.

Amazon Appstore Has Limited Apps!

According to Statitsa, Google Play Store ranks first in the app market with over 3.4 million apps. It is followed by the Apple Store that has over 2.2 million apps. As for Amazon Appstore, it comes forth with 460,619 applications.

Certainly, Amazon Appstore pales in comparison to the number of apps in Google Play Store or Apple Store.

Moreover, the Amazon Appstore does not have some notable apps. For instance, android versions of Apple Music and Snapchat are not available in the Amazon Appstore.

Does this mean you are limited to apps in the Amazon Appstore in the Windows 11 update?

Absolutely not!

A Microsoft engineer confirmed in a tweet that Microsoft would allow sideloading apps from other sources. So, in short, you are not limited to Amazon Appstore’s applications.

Although, sideloading allows you to download apps outside the Amazon Appstore. It might be a security nightmare.

Sideloading Apps Have Some Security Concerns

Essentially, sideloading refers to downloading applications that are unavailable in official app stores.

When any application is included in an app store, it is strictly checked for security flaws.

Sideloaded apps are free from such scrutiny. As a result, sideloading apps might pose a security threat to your device.

Another security concern is that the ability to download applications from other sources will enable users to access illegal app repositories. This, in turn, might corrupt your PC.

Also, sideloading isn’t easy. For instance, sideloading applications in a Chrome OS requires enabling Linux plus doing some command line work.

Till now, Microsoft hasn’t commented on the process of sideloading apps on Windows. Plus, it is still unclear whether Windows will have the ability to scan such apps for malicious activities.

The Conclusion

The Windows 11 Android app support feature could be a hit among users.

Microsoft is leaving no stone unturned to convince developers to publish applications in their native app store. From providing support for more app development frameworks to introducing a 100% revenue share model for apps that don’t wish to use Microsoft Commerce, Microsoft is doing everything.

Nonetheless, there are certain issues with the Windows 11 update. They include the limited number of mobile applications on the Amazon Appstore, the importance of Google Play Services for mobile apps, and the safety risks of sideloading apps.

Considering all this, it seems bringing a seamless Android app experience to Windows PC is no easy feat.

References –

  1. https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2021/06/24/building-a-new-open-microsoft-store-on-windows-11/?mc_cid=f92bd6a751
  2. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.computerworld.com/article/3598922/android-apps-on-windows.amp.html
  3. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2021/6/25/22550689/windows-11-android-app-sideload-amazon-app-store
  4. https://www.theverge.com/2021/6/24/22549303/windows-11-intel-bridge-android-apps-amd-arm-processors
  5. https://www.theverge.com/2021/6/24/22549303/windows-11-intel-bridge-android-apps-amd-arm-processors

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