the company announced an update that updates versions of Android that run on your PC and will help apps feel more on a PC. It’s a bit of a surprise that the Windows Subsystem for Android update is available for Windows Insiders, but that’s most likely a good thing because of reasons we’ll discuss shortly.
The most significant enhancement is an upgrade for the current version of Android, which is responsible for Windows’ capability to run mobile applications. The version currently available for public downloads appears to be running Android 11 (based on my testing with tools for developers). However, the version Microsoft is testing runs Android 12.1, also known as Android 12L. This means that if your phone is something other than a new Pixel or Pixel 2, your computer could be running a different version of Android than your phone.
Android apps will be slightly more similar to Windows apps.
The update also makes enhancements to the way Android apps interact with Windows. Pop-up messages from apps might appear as Windows notifications shortly as well as the taskbar will display whether an Android app is connecting to your microphone or your location. The company has also stated that Android apps will behave better when you wake your PC out of standby. Instead of restarting the computer, apps should start from the point they had left off.
Microsoft is also claiming to have completely revamped the Settings app, which you can use to manage settings for the Windows Subsystem for Android, setting up scenes to give you users an “all-around cleaner user experience.” It’s also made enhancements to the way Android apps can access the camera on your computer and even enhanced the network capabilities to allow you to connect smart home devices by using an Android application running on your PC.
Although these are all significant improvements, you might prefer to put off trying to utilize this feature on your own currently. First, it’s being made available on the Dev channel, which is the most cutting-edge among the Windows Insider rings. (Meaning that you’re more likely to experience crashes and bugs in addition to operating Android software.) In that regard, Microsoft warns that the update of Android 12.1 “may cause some apps to fail to launch.” Considering how rough it has been to roll out the Android 12 rollout for phones, this isn’t shocking. Microsoft claims it’s working with its partners “to address these issues as soon as possible,” which hopefully will be ironed out before releasing the upgrade to the masses.
Although the update may not be wholly baked, It’s nice to know it’s a sign that Microsoft is showing some attention to the Android applications on Windows feature. It could’ve advertised it as something new to be part of Windows 11, launched it, and thought the project would be more or less complete. The fact that we’re now seeing some significant changes suggests that Microsoft is firmly committed to this feature for the moment. However, if it genuinely would like to provide a top-quality experience, it’ll have to devise a much simpler method of downloading applications via the Google Play Store. Google Play Store, rather than the comparatively limited Amazon Appstore’s choices.