Earlier this year, Windows 11 received support for highly anticipated Android apps for those with supported devices. As you may remember, the ability to run Android apps is officially provided by the Amazon App Store. It is currently being tested for users in the US, and Only certain machines meet the system requirements can benefit from it.
If you’re outside the US, you can still use the Windows 11 core Android subsystem drive maintained via the Microsoft Store to load mobile apps and run them on your desktop. Now, at least, we can see that Microsoft is actively working on the project and a new update is being rolled out with some new features.
A new update brings the Windows subsystem version for Android to 2204.40000.15.0 and includes several major improvements. As part of the new release, Microsoft is updating the core engine to Android 12.1. In other words, Windows 11 can now take advantage of the latest Google technology.
You won’t immediately notice the changes after upgrading to Android 12.1 and more details will be posted later. However, this change may cause some apps to crash on launch and Microsoft is working on a fix.
In the new Windows subsystem for Android, Microsoft has disabled the telemetry suite by default. This option can be found as an Optional Diagnostic Data toggle in the Windows subsystem of the Android Settings app and users can enable it to voluntarily provide useful information about app usage.
A new networking experience
Microsoft introduces a new networking experience for Android that lets you easily connect Android apps to devices on the same network as your desktop.
As a result, it is now possible to play your favorite content on a speaker on the same network. Similarly, you can use the Android app for the smart home and set up a security camera via Windows.
Redesigned settings page
Microsoft has redesigned the app that lets you manage the settings of the Android subsystem.
The Settings page now uses a new bulk navigation and has been redesigned from the ground up.
The update also added a diagnostic data viewer that allows you to monitor the diagnostic data the subsystem collects. You can use it to force apps not to resize or enable swipes of the arrow keys.
Windows 11 integration
Microsoft is improving the integration between Android apps and Windows 11. For example, taskbar icons can now display apps using your microphone, location, and other system services in the system tray.
Similarly, if you use the automatically hidden taskbar in Windows 11, you will notice that Android apps now hide/show properly. Another change ensures that the Android toast is reflected as Windows notifications on Windows 11, and the Android activity title is also highlighted by the application window.
Here is a list of other new features and improvements:
- This update prevents Android apps from restarting when the desktop leaves the connected standby mode.
- Microsoft is improving camera integration into Android apps. Camera orientation has been updated to respect natural orientation, and Microsoft has also fixed camera preview issues, including a bug where the company resolved letterbox and camera feed squashed.
- Microsoft is improving mouse and keyboard support. You’ll notice that scrolling through the scroll wheel has been improved and Microsoft has also fixed issues with on-screen keyboard focus and Android’s built-in software keyboard.
- Simpleperf CPU profile registration now works in WSA.
- New video hardware decoders (VP8 and VP9).
- Chromium WebView 100 is now used for Android apps.
- Improve overall stability, performance, and reliability
Microsoft reminds us that these new functions are driven by the Windows sub-system for Android and that the update is live for Dev Channel users only, and that should open to the general public soon.