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Microsoft and Google Scale Up Interoperability Between Windows 11 and Android 13 – Toolbox tech news

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The latest update from Microsoft will allow users to download and run Android Apps on Windows 11. Meanwhile, an Android developer successfully ran Windows 11, the OS, in an Android 13 virtual machine.

Microsoft has finally announced the availability of as many as one thousand Android apps through the Amazon Appstore. The new additions form part of the Windows 11 update rolled out on Tuesday. Conversely, the upcoming Android 13 features the ability to run Windows 11 and Linux on devices running on the mobile OS.
Microsoft had initially announced and started test runs of Android apps on Windows 11 computers through the Windows 11 Insider Program. This week, the company announced the feature by releasing a public preview of the latest Windows 11 update that allows Android apps to run on the OS.
The beta version of Windows 11 Insider Program allowed access to apps such as the Kindle e-reader app, Clash of Kings, The Washington Post, and a few others. This new, but preliminary update, will now offer Windows users access to approximately 1000 new apps through the Amazon Appstore.
This Windows 11 update is unexpected because Microsoft in November halved the cadence and support schedule to once a year for Windows 10 and Windows 11 updates. “Over time, you’ll see us release new features into Windows 11 for end users more frequently in addition to our annual update,” said Microsoft’s chief product officer Panos Panay as he detailed the new features. 
“We will leverage the variety of update mechanisms we have in place including servicing and Microsoft Store updates. Our goal is to deliver continuous innovation, providing you with the best experiences year-round.” No one is complaining, not yet anyway.
To clarify, users or developers cannot download/install or submit Android APKs directly to Microsoft but via the Amazon Appstore. The addition of 1000 apps for Windows is no match for Google’s Play Store, but it should improve user experience by letting users download and install apps such as Khan Academy Kids, Audible, and others.

To get started, go to Microsoft Store > Update it if it isn’t > Search the app you’d like to download and install > Download them through the Amazon Appstore.
Besides this significant update, the new Windows 11 release also features a redesigned Notepad (simplification of the menu, dark mode) and Media Player (better accessibility, keyboard access) and an improved taskbar. The new taskbar features a repositioned weather icon as an entry point for other widgets. It also boasts new window sharing, mute/unmute features, and the ability to project a clock on multiple monitors.
See More: Windows 365: An Inside Peek Into Microsoft’s Next Big Push In Cloud Computing
Google is introducing the virtualization functionality in Android 13 to let users set up and run Windows 11 on the mobile OS. In addition to this, the virtualization functionality allows users to run Linux distros.
A week after Google released the Android 13 developer preview, an independent Android and web developer, who goes by the name ‘kdrag0n’ on Twitter, demonstrated how Windows 11 (ARM-based and not x86) and Linux could run on the latest Android OS.
And here's Windows 11 as a VM on Pixel 6 https://t.co/0557SfeJtN pic.twitter.com/v7OIcWC3Ab
— Danny Lin (@kdrag0n) February 13, 2022

“Worked on performance a bit and the Windows VM is actually really usable now, though there’s still no graphics acceleration. CPU, I/O, and memory pressure are much better now,” kdrag0n said.
kdrag0n installed Windows 11 in a virtual machine on a Pixel 6 device running Android 13. The developer utilized a protected kernel virtualization mechanism or pKVM that Google is building into Android 13.
Bringing pKVM is Google’s attempt at cleaning up the long-term technical complexities and the mess created in the initial days of Android, which led to fragmentation. Multiple Android versions, each with a significant market share, lead to fragmented development that may undermine the security of the Android device.
Will Deacon, a software engineer at Google, describes virtualization on Android as “the wild west of fragmentation” because people may not use a virtual machine or a hypervisor to run an OS. It is instead used for securing the Android kernel.
To eliminate the security problem due to fragmentation, Google is developing and testing microdroid. This lightweight Android version will take care of specific native workloads and possibly clear the mobile OS of any security-related issues. Microdroid has no system server, no HALs and no GUI, according to the Google documentation of the small OS.
This should, in effect, allow the standardization of the Android kernel (Generic Kernel Image), and thereby the virtual machine, and enable developers to run other operating systems on Android, which kdrag0n has successfully demonstrated.
A standardized Linux kernel for Android could also streamline the Android update cycle, even by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), which is essential to roll out new features rapidly and improve security. Google itself notes on the Android website that “as much as 50% of the code running on a device is out-of-tree code (not from upstream Linux or from AOSP common kernels),” thanks to updates not reaching the end-user due to fragmentation.
Google’s efforts to eliminate fragmentation in Android include Project Treble started in 2017, and Project Mainline in 2019.
ARM64 has supported KVM since 2013 (Linux 3.11), but as of now, virtualization modules are absent from Android devices except Pixel 6s running Android 13 (which only became available last week).
kdrag0n also installed the popular Microsoft-owned shooter game Doom and played it by connecting the mobile device’s Windows virtual machine to their computer for keyboard input.
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Deidre Richardson is a tech enthusiast who loves to cover the latest news on smartphones, tablets, and mobile gadgets. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (B.A, History/Music), you can always find her rocking her Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and LG Nexus 5 on a regular basis.

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