Android apps on Windows: Microsoft’s Windows subsystem for Android just got a big update

Microsoft updated the Windows for Android Subsystem (WSA) to Android 12.1 and shipped improvements to Android’s integration with Windows, networking, the camera in apps, the Settings app, and more.

Android on Windows has been an interesting but slowly simmering thing, as it was launched with Windows 11 in October With very few apps that must be installed from the Amazon Appstore. Microsoft released 1,000 additional games and apps in February For ordinary users, but there Minimum hardware requirements And the Amazon Appstore is still Only available in the US.

Regardless of the current limitations, Microsoft continues to invest in bringing Android to Windows 11, as evidenced by its update of WSA on Windows 11 (version 2204.40000.15) to Android 12.1, which is available to Dev Channel Insiders, According to the Microsoft blog. WSA launched with Android 11.

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Microsoft has optimized networking on the Windows subsystem for Android, so that Android apps can connect to devices on the same network as a Windows PC. Advanced networking allows users to set up smart home devices such as speakers and security cameras using a compatible Android app. This feature is available in Windows 11 preview versions 22621 and later, with advanced networking turned on by default for new x64 Windows versions.

The integration between Android and Windows has also been improved. Windows taskbar icons now display Android apps that are currently using hardware features like microphone and location in the system tray.

The taskbar now appears correctly or also disappears when applications are turned on or off. Android notifications also appear as Windows notifications and the Windows title of the Android app now reflects the title of the Android activity. Android apps will not restart again after exiting connected standby, but instead will reappear where the app was paused.

Among the “several camera updates” in this release, Microsoft highlights that the camera orientation is fixed to normal, that incorrect camera previews, letterboxing (where the app window is wider than it is, or longer horizontally), have been fixed, and ” smash camera feed”.

Mouse and keyboard input has been improved in the Windows subsystem for Android. Microsoft has also improved scroll wheel support, fixed on-screen keyboard focus, and made sure the Android keyboard is displayed correctly.

The updated Windows Subsystem Android Settings app has gained a redesigned Diagnostic Data Viewer and user experience. As of this update, group telemetry is turned off by default. However, Microsoft encourages users to enable the setting, so it can collect data about Android app usage.

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Other important updates include reducing flicker when restoring apps from a minimized state, adding VP8 and VP9 video hardware decoding, and adding Chromium WebView 100 to the Windows subsystem for Android.

There are several known issues remaining, including camera instability on Arm devices, wobbly printing across Android apps, layout issues for apps rendering at low resolution, and some VPNs may not work with advanced networks.

Microsoft warns that “some apps that were previously available may be missing from experience, fail to launch, or misbehave for various known issues. We are working with our partners to address these issues as soon as possible.”

It will likely be some time before more Android apps come to Windows 11. Currently, Amazon not acceptable New submissions to the Amazon Appstore for Windows 11 devices with over 1,000 apps selected for the program in February.

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