Windows 11’s Android integration gets a major update with tons of new features


Windows 11 Android integration update

Windows 11 Android integration update

Earlier this year, Windows 11 gained support for highly anticipated Android apps for those with supported hardware. As you may recall, the ability to run Android apps is officially provided by the Amazon App Store. It is currently being tested for users in the United States and only certain computers that meet the system requirements can benefit from it.

If you’re located outside of the United States, you can still use Windows 11’s underlying Android subsystem engine, managed through the Microsoft Store, to sideload and run mobile apps on the desktop. Now we can at least see that Microsoft is actively working on the project and a new update is coming out with some new features.

A new update increases the Windows subsystem version for Android to 2204.40000.15.0 and includes several important improvements. As part of the new version, Microsoft is updating the underlying engine to Android 12.1. In other words, Windows 11 can now benefit from the latest Google technologies.

You won’t immediately notice changes after upgrading to Android 12.1 and more details will be released a little 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 telemetry collection by default. This option can be found as an “optional diagnostic data” button in the Windows subsystem for the Android Settings app, and users can enable it to voluntarily provide useful telemetry data on app usage.

A new network experience

Microsoft introduces a new networking experience for the Android system that allows you to 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. Likewise, you can use a smart home Android app and set up a security camera through Windows.

Redesigned settings page

Microsoft has redesigned the app that allows you to manage Android subsystem settings.

The settings page now uses new grouped 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 collected by the subsystem. You can use it to force apps not to be resizable or enable swiping for arrow keys.

Windows 11 integration

Microsoft is improving the integration between Android apps and Windows 11. For example, system tray icons can now display apps that use microphone, location, and other system services in the system tray.

Likewise, if you use Windows 11’s auto-hide taskbar, you’ll notice that Android apps are now hidden/shown correctly. There’s another change that ensures Android toasts are played as Windows notifications on Windows 11, and the title of the Android activity is also highlighted from the app’s window.

Here is a list of other new features and improvements:

  • This update prevents Android apps from restarting when your desktop wakes from connected sleep.
  • Microsoft improves camera integration in 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 fixed letterboxing and camera feed squeezing.
  • Microsoft is improving mouse and keyboard support. You’ll notice that scroll wheel scrolling has been improved and Microsoft has also fixed focus issues on Android’s on-screen keyboard and built-in software keyboard.
  • Simpleperf CPU Profiler recording now works in WSA.
  • New video hardware decoding (VP8 and VP9).
  • It now uses Chromium WebView 100 for Android apps.
  • Improved overall stability, performance and reliability

Microsoft reminds us that these new features will be powered by the Windows subsystem for Android and the update is only available for Dev Channel users, which presumably will be available to the general public soon.

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