While the decision has been praised, it has also been met with some trepidation and confusion that leaves people wondering why an agreement wasn’t just made with Google itself.
The redesigned Microsoft Store for Windows 11 is very welcome, but users have far fewer Android apps to choose from compared to the amount available on Google’s own Play Store.
With this in mind, this decision may have been made on the Amazon Store instead.
To see what was ahead of us all along
Google recently announced it would change the format for Android apps called APK, and move to a new format from August called “Android App Bundle” or AAB.
When you download an app for your Android device from the Google Play Store, it uses the “.APK” naming convention, similar to how you install an app on Windows as “.exe” or “.DMG” on Apple’s macOS operating system .
However, according to Google, this new file type reduces the size of the app and can at the same time signedwhich essentially means that Google can track the app on their Play Store with an “upload key” so that the app can restore for a developer if something happens.
This is where the Amazon App Store for Windows 11 comes into play, in my opinion.
The Amazon Windows 11 Store
Amazon has had its for years own Android app store, which enables Kindle Fire device users to download apps from Amazon’s own website and the company’s own storefront.
There have been almost 500,000 apps since the store was launched in 2011 available from Amazon, which seems minimal compared to the millions in the Google Play Store.
However, Amazon has complete control over this store, so developers who create apps that illegally offer games and apps for free that are otherwise available for a fee will be banned, much like Apple’s own policies.
This, along with Google’s plans for AAB and the plan to sign each app with an upload key, could be the reason we’re seeing Amazon’s Store on Windows 11 instead. It helps keep the focus on what’s available on Amazon’s storefront and doesn’t inundate the new Microsoft Store with copycat apps. Additionally, there is no need for Microsoft to monitor the apps coming in from Android as Amazon already does.
It’s a brilliant move when you think about it. It enables more apps in the new Microsoft Store with minimal effort from Microsoft and helps make it a significant competitor to Apple’s Mac App Store, with iOS apps now available on M1 Macs.
Since extensions are also available for Microsoft Edge in the Microsoft Store, it’s a fantastic way for new and existing users to discover apps they might not otherwise have found.
There is already an early version of Windows 11 that can be downloaded for testing, but it doesn’t currently include any Android apps, so we’ll have to wait and see how successful Microsoft is with integrating these mobile apps.