Windows 11: Hands on with Google Play Store for Android, running via WSA

Windows 11 Play Store

Windows 11’s February 2022 update introduces support for
Windows Subsystem for Android outside the company’s Insider
program. For the Android apps, Microsoft is integrating
Amazon’s Appstore into the Windows 11’s Store, allowing users
to easily download and install thousands of mobile apps on
desktops.

If you want to run Android apps on your desktop, you’ll need a
device with at least 8GB of RAM, SSD storage, and a supported
processor (Intel, AMD and ARM). You’ll also need “Virtual
Machine Platform”, which is available in Windows 11’s Control
Panel. Users need to turn on the optional feature for Android
apps to work on Windows 11.

According to official documentation, Windows 11 uses Amazon
Store for mobile apps and Google’s Play Store is not supported.
In other words, you won’t get access to the huge collection of
apps or games you’d usually find in the Google Play Store.
However, some developers are exploring support for Play Store
on Windows 11.

A hack created by a developer who goes by the name of ADeltaX
on Github
has been available for months now and it has been made in
collaboration with independent developers. Thanks to their
efforts, it is possible to get the Play Store to work.

While
the process is long and complicated, we tried the hack on
our device and we were able to run Play Store without major
issues.

A closer look at Play Store for Windows 11

The first step in this process is to make sure virtualization
is enabled (which can be done via Control Panel > Programs
> Turn Windows features on or off).

Windows Subsystem for Android

We also need to download Windows Subsystem for Android, enable
developer options in Windows 11, and finally use the command
line script to bypass restrictions and install the Play Store.

The script allows users to open and install apps from
downloaded APK files, which also makes Play Store a reality.

Play Store homepage

Windows 11’s Subsystem for Android isn’t the fastest
emulation/virtualization technology in the industry, but it is
able to run Play Store smoothly. You might be able to make it
marginally faster by upgrading the memory of your device to at
least 16GB. In case you use HDD, make sure you install the
Android subsystem on an SSD drive.

After the WSA restarts during the initial installation process,
you’ll see the Google Play Store logo within the loading screen
of Windows Subsystem for Android. Sign in with your Google
account and you’ll have a functional Play Store, just like on
any mobile device.

In our tests, we downloaded Play services dependent apps like
Google Docs and YouTube, and they worked without any issues.

YouTube Play Store

Any other app you can’t find in the Amazon Appstore is
available on Windows 11 via Play Store port.

Sometimes, you may experience problems when trying to run Play
Store apps on Windows 11, but developers have confirmed the
services will automatically update themselves in the background
to ensure better compatibility with Google’s store.

Play Store port for Windows 11 is still in the early stage of
development, so it’s better to wait for a more straightforward
approach instead of trying this project now.

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