Windows Subsystem for Android is an optional feature of Windows 11 that lets you run Android apps and games alongside your other software. Microsoft is currently testing a major subsystem upgrade.
Microsoft is currently rolling out an update for Windows Subsystem for Android to the Windows Insiders Dev Channel. The new version upgrades the main operating system from Android 11 to Android 12.1 (also known as Android 12L), which means that the new system and app features of Android 12 and 12.1 are now available on Windows for the first time. However, new features in these updates do not apply to the modified version running on Windows. For example, one of the main improvements in version 12.1 was a dual-pane notification panel for larger screens, but Android app notifications on Windows just show up in the Windows notification panel.
The upgrade also improves how Android apps integrate with Windows. The Windows taskbar now shows Android apps that are currently using microphone, location, and other system services, like many native Windows apps. Toast messages (the little pop-ups some apps use for temporary messages) are now displayed as Windows notifications, and the title bar on Android apps will use the name of the current activity for the title.
There are also a few other minor fixes. Mouse and keyboard support has been improved (especially with keyboard focus and scroll wheels), the camera isn’t as buggy, and apps won’t fully restart when your PC will wake up from connected standby.
The Windows Subsystem for Android Settings app has received an overhaul alongside the main system upgrade. Microsoft said in a blog post, “We’ve redesigned the app from the ground up, now with cleaner groups of settings, grouped navigation, and a cleaner user experience. We’ve also added a diagnostic data viewer where you can review all diagnostic data collected by the subsystem and configure options in the new compatibility settings to enable fixes for specific apps, such as force apps not to be resizable or enable scans for Directional keys.”
- Windows Subsystem for Android updated to Android 12.1
- Advanced networking enabled by default for new versions of Windows x64
- Windows Subsystem for Android Settings app update: Added redesigned UX and diagnostics data viewer
- Simpleperf CPU profiler logging now works with Windows Subsystem for Android
- Windows taskbar now shows Android apps that use microphone and location
- Improvements to Android app notifications appearing as Windows notifications
- Reduced flickering when apps are restored from a minimized state
- Apps are not restarted when devices resume from Connected Standby on recent versions of Windows
- New video hardware decoding (VP8 and VP9)
- Fixes for on-screen keyboard in apps
- Fixes for fullscreen Android apps and auto-hiding Windows taskbar
- Windows Subsystem for Android updated with Chromium WebView 100
- Added support for Android NetworkLocationProvider in addition to GpsLocationProvider
- Improved general stability, performance and reliability
The new update is limited to Windows Insiders for now, but once Microsoft fixes all the bugs, it should start rolling out to all Windows 11 users who have the Android subsystem enabled.
It’s impressive to see such rapid development on the Windows Android system, especially since Android 12.1 only started rolling out to phones and tablets in March. Google’s Chrome OS still uses Android 11 to run mobile apps and the Play Store.
Source: Windows Blog