Windows can run Android apps. But how exactly?

As we know, Windows 11 will allow you to run Android applications, thanks to Intel Bridge technology. But what is the purpose of this innovation and how will everything work?

What is Intel Bridge?

Applications communicate with the processor using a specific set of instructions, and the instructions are different for each platform. Mobile applications are written for the ARM architecture, while desktop applications are focused on x86. To ensure seamless interactions between the two software types, the processor needs to be explained, in the accessible language, how to interact with a foreign program.

Previously, emulators usually served this purpose. They run Android utilities by simulating the mobile platform’s hardware (the processor). However, this approach is ineffective: emulators are resource-intensive and slow. But how to get applications from a different OS to function with minimal latency?

Intel Bridge technology was created to serve this purpose in Windows 11. It isn’t a hardware module. It’s a complex program called a post-compiler. This is how Microsoft describes the technology, “It creates a native proxy application that acts as a bridge between the Android application model and the Windows application model.” Apple uses a similar approach with its Rosetta 2 tool.

The emulation always takes place in real time, and Intel Bridge adapts the application in advance – during its installation or first launch. When the user opens the software, they can already interact with the native code without any difficulties. That’s why everything is almost as quick as on the native hardware. This feature function will work on AMD processors as well.

Truth be told, this method is not devoid of disadvantages. You “buy” the excellent performance with your SSD resource. The adapted code takes up a lot of space, and the required dynamic caching wears down the storage resource. This is especially evident when working with heavy applications that are not yet rebuilt for ARM.

What is the conclusion?

Nevertheless, Android software will behave in the same way as regular utilities for Windows. At least that’s what Microsoft promises. Mobile applications are expected to open in a separate window. You can also pin them to the taskbar. On top of that, there will be full support for a keyboard, mouse, touchscreen, and Bluetooth headphones. Not to mention the exchange of files between Windows and Android programs.