At the Build 2022 developer conference, Microsoft made a big announcement regarding Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA). The tech giant unveiled a new version of WSA based on Android 12.1 and promised frequent updates via the Windows Update/Microsoft Store.
For those who don’t know, the Windows subsystem for Android is built on top of the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and originally shipped with version 11. While Android 11 works really well with WSA, Microsoft believes that now is the time is to update to Android 12 In other words version 12.
Microsoft is now shipping a new version of Windows Subsystem for Android (12) to users in the Release Preview Channel, Beta Channel, and Dev Channel of the Windows 11 Insider Program. The new WSA is still in preview, but it is stable and everyone can join the Release Preview Channel to test the updated experience.
New Features in Windows Subsystem for Android Update
WSA now runs Android 12.1 and it is one of the biggest changes in this release, but there are more improvements.
For example, Android apps now have access to advanced networking features of the operating system. This means that Android apps can now connect to other devices on the same network that powers your computer.
Native apps on Windows can access connected network devices such as cameras or speakers, and the same functionality is now available for Android apps. Similarly, Microsoft is taking Android integration in Windows 11 to the next level by detecting when Android apps use the microphone, location, etc.
When an Android app uses one of these hardware features, Microsoft will notify you by displaying a notification on the taskbar, just like a native Windows app. Microsoft has also improved Android app notifications to better integrate with Windows 11’s Notification Center.
Here’s a list of all the new features rolling out to WSA:
- A brand new Settings app with grouped navigation to help you find the options you’re looking for.
- Microsoft is introducing a new diagnostic data viewer that allows you to see what data has been collected by WSA. For privacy, Microsoft has optional diagnostics by default, but you can turn it back on if you want to help Microsoft.
- Better hardware integration: Android apps’ camera orientation now respects your computer’s natural orientation. Microsoft has also fixed the camera feed distortion.
- Input Devices: Microsoft improves scroll wheels in mice, improves keyboard focus, and more.
Last but not least, Windows Subsystem for Android now supports enhanced video hardware decoding with VP8 and VP9 formats.
There is another important change that would improve the web experience within the Android apps. According to the release notes, WSA’s built-in WebView has been updated to Chromium 100.
As for availability, the new version of WSA is rolling out to everyone in the Insider program and will be available for production in the coming weeks.
In related news, a new version of the Microsoft Store was released yesterday with better Android integration on Windows 11.