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Android 13 has two killer features that Windows 11 users will love

Published Feb 17th, 2022 9:14PM EST
Google Pixel 6 Pro front facing with screen powered on
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

The first Android 13 beta is available to install on Pixel 6 and other supported devices. The first developer preview lets Android app creators get a head start on playing around with the new operating system. This isn’t meant for average Android users. That said, people who have rummaged through Android 13 have already found two great features that Windows 11 users will absolutely love.

First of all, Google’s new mobile operating system can deliver a full virtualized Windows 11 experience. Secondly, Android 13 lets users stream any app on their phone to their laptop or desktop.

The smartphone is the most important device that most people own. It’s the primary way to communicate with others, surf the web, and purchase goods. Then there are tablets, which offer the same features with the added advantage of a larger screen. The big display is better for work and entertainment.

But the PC isn’t going away anytime soon. If anything, PC sales improved during the pandemic, as more people worked and studied from home.

While these separate devices coexist, companies have been working on converging the experiences. Apple has its Continuity features in iOS and macOS that make it easier to juggle iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Microsoft has Windows 11, which brings support for running full Android apps. And Android 13 might give Google tools that will allow Android users to move their mobile experiences to PC. That includes Windows 11, Mac, and Chrome.

Running Windows 11 on Android 13

A developer posted on Twitter the following clip that’s quite exciting. It shows him playing Doom on Windows 11 that’s loading in a virtual machine on a Pixel 6.

That’s not the kind of experience you’d want to have on a mobile device with a small screen. But the contraption proves that Android 13 virtualization capabilities are so good that it will let people run the Windows 11 ARM version on Android devices.

Some professionals will need that sort of access to Windows 11. They will probably want to take advantage of the feature. And it’ll work best on Android 13 devices with larger displays, such as foldables and tablets.

But running Windows 11 on Android 13 might not be the kind of feature that all Android users need. Streaming Android apps on a nearby PC is something entirely different. Many people will want to take advantage of such an experience.

This is the kind of productivity improvement that will let you keep up with the notifications on your phone while you’re working on a Windows, Mac, or Chrome OS device without picking up the phone. You won’t have to juggle different devices at the same time, but different windows.

Android 13 app streaming on a PC
Pixel 6 Pro (left) streaming Android 13 apps to a nearby PC. Image source: 9to5Google

Streaming Android apps on PC

Google already said at CES 2022 that it plans to let users access any chat app on an Android phone directly from a Chromebook without having to actually install the apps on the Chrome OS device. Google might have been referring to the Android 13 feature that 9to5Google discovered.

The first Android 13 developer preview includes two “Cross Device” service apps that let you pair the phone with a Windows 11 PC (or any other OS) and a Chrome OS computer.

The apps offer similar functionality, although Chrome OS gives Google better control when it comes to the overall experience.

What matters here is that these apps prove Google is in the advanced stages of letting Android 13 users stream their apps to Windows 11 or other OSes.

The blog has actually demoed the functionality, explaining how it works. Android 13 will create a separate display that it will then stream to a laptop or desktop as soon as the two devices are linked. Everything happens inside a browser, and you can use the mouse and keyboard to interact with the contents of your phone.

That includes tapping notifications to respond to chat apps or opening any app that’s installed on the phone. 9to5Google has videos and more images showing how everything works.

It’s unclear when these Android 13 features will be available and what devices will support them. However, streaming apps to a Windows 11 device is the kind of Android feature that might become quite popular with PC users. Therefore, it’s the kind of experience that Google will want to demo in great detail at an event like I/O 2022 when it’s ready.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.