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You can run Windows 11 on your phone thanks to Android 13

A developer has taken advantage of Android 13's improved virtualization support in a big way.

Published onFebruary 14, 2022

Windows 11 logo image
  • A developer has managed to get Windows 11 Arm running in a virtual machine on their Pixel 6.
  • This is reportedly possible due to Android 13’s improved support for virtualization.

Android 13 doesn’t seem like a major upgrade at first glance, offering a secure photo picker, themed icons, and a new Wi-Fi permission. But it turns out that the update enables users to run alternative operating systems such as Windows 11 in a virtual machine (VM).

Android web and app developer Danny Lin, going by the Twitter handle kdrag0n, has shown off Windows 11 Arm running in a virtual machine on a Google Pixel 6. The phone was indeed running the Android 13 DP1 update. Check out the screenshots in a tweet below.

And here’s Windows 11 as a VM on Pixel 6
— kdrag0n (@kdrag0n) February 13, 2022

Lin adds that Windows 11 was “really usable” although hardware GPU acceleration isn’t supported. In fact, he even posted a video showing Doom running on the Windows 11 VM. You can check that out below.

Yes, it runs Doom (connecting to the phone’s Windows VM from my computer for keyboard input)
— kdrag0n (@kdrag0n) February 14, 2022

Windows 11 wasn’t the only operating system the developer got running on the Pixel 6, as he also showed off various Linux distributions booting up on the device.

So how is this possible? Well, Esper editor and former XDA-Developers editor-in-chief Mishaal Rahman explains that Android 13 on the Pixel 6 supports a new virtualization framework. His explanation is detailed in an extensive blog post here, but the long and short of it is that Google is putting a lot of work into creating a better virtualization framework that should run across a variety of Android devices.

It’s not the first time we see Windows 11 Arm running on Android phones either. A community called the Renegade Project previously ported Microsoft’s Windows 10 Arm and Windows 11 Arm to Snapdragon 845 devices, for one. But this latest development is still very cool to see, and we hope the virtual machine route is more accessible and performant down the line.

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