Microsoft announced that, as of Friday, it’ll be offering an upgraded version of Android that permits Windows 11 apps to run on your pc. These applications now feel less like they’re on a phone and more like they’re among those you would use on a PC. The Windows Subsystem for Android version is currently available only for testing for Windows Insiders, but I imagine that’s a good thing.
The headlining update is an update to the version of Android that powers Windows’s ability to run mobile apps. The current public release of Windows is using Android 11 (based on some prodding that I did with developer tools), but the operating system being tested is Android 12.1, or Android 12L. That truly means that if you’ve got anything other than a recent Pixel, your computer is likely to be running a newer version of Android than your phone.
Window updates bring improvements to how Android apps function with Windows 10. Pop-up notifications appear as Windows pop-ups now, and the taskbar can show when an app is accessing your microphone or location. The company recommends performing Android apps faster after you wake your computer up from standby. Instead of starting up anew, they should avoid restarting from where they left off.
Microsoft also claims that it has been completely redesigning the settings app that you utilized to manage the Android subsystem for the Windows Subsystem. It now can group settings together and provides a streamlined user experience over all. It has improved the method for Android apps to utilize your computer’s camera and has added new networking capabilities so you can set up smart home accessories using an Android application running on your machine.
While these all sound like big improvements, you may want to hold off on making use of the feature yourself for the time being. For one, it s currently being rolled out to the Dev channel, which is the most bleeding-edge of the Windows Insider rings. (Meaning you are more likely to see bugs and crashes when running Android apps.) Going on, Microsoft has warned that the upgrade to Android 12.1 might cause some programs to crash. You probably shouldn’t be surprised given how difficult the A1 2 rollout has been on devices. The company says that it is working with partners to address this matter as soon as possible, so it hope that it can be resolved before it reaches customers.
Even though it is only half-baked yet, it’s good to see that Microsoft is actually giving some love to the Android versions on Windows feature. It could easily introduced it as something cool coming with Windows 11, unveiled it, and proceeded to think the project was wrapped up. The fact that we are observing changes to it, even so, makes it look like Microsoft is committed to the feature for the time being. If it really wants to have a first-class experience, though, it will need to work out a much easier way to obtain apps from the Google Play Store, compared to the far more limited Amazon Appstore selection.