Microsoft now has a new version of Windows Subsystem for Android, in testing, that runs all your apps on the latest Android 12.1.
First released earlier this year, Windows Subsystem for Android lets you access many of the same Android apps you know and love right on your Windows 11 PC, but with some specific requirements. Granted, the experience and library isn’t quite the same as what you’ll get on your phone or Chromebook, because by default you use the Amazon Appstore to get Android apps instead of the Google Play Store. Still, overall it’s a nice new feature for PC owners.
In a new blog post, Microsoft outlined the future of the Windows Subsystem for Android, starting with a new update available to Windows Insiders subscribed to the Dev Channel. The main feature of this update is that Windows 11 will now use Android 12.1 to run your apps, but this would have some consequences as some apps might no longer be compatible.
Other improvements include Android networking tweaks that let you connect to local devices like Chromecast-enabled speakers, better keyboard and mouse support, and some bug fixes. essential for camera support. You’ll also find a completely redesigned Android settings app and deeper integration into the Windows 11 system.
The move to Android 12.1 puts Windows 11 firmly at the forefront of Android desktop support, with Google’s own Chrome operating system still running its mobile apps on Android 11. Microsoft’s next upgrade to Android 12.1 – sometimes referred to as Android 12L – could be intended to take advantage of Google’s work to improve the experience of “big screen” devices, which a Windows PC would certainly qualify.
The update is only available for testers at this time, as Microsoft is seeking feedback before launching Android 12.1 on other Windows 11 PCs. If you feel brave enough to test the software in preview, you can Sign up for the Windows Insider program and try the update on your own device.
Full change log
- 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
- Simpleper 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
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