Android apps in Windows 11 are getting a major update with UI changes and more

Android apps in Windows 11
(Image credit: Microsoft)

To mark this week's Build 2022 show, Microsoft has made another announcement on the Windows 11 front, namely that a revamped Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) has arrived on the Microsoft Store.

You may recall that when WSA was launched it was built on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) version 11, but Microsoft has updated the system to now use the latest version, namely AOSP 12.1.

While the new WSA app is still in preview, you can download that test version from the Microsoft Store right now.

As you might imagine, switching to Android 12.1 brings in a bunch of new features, with Microsoft noting that there are some important changes for windowed apps, including eliminating nasty flickering effects when minimized apps are brought back into play, and enhancements for resizing windows in a better fashion.

There are also networking improvements, allowing for Android apps to connect to devices which are on the same network as the Windows 11 PC, along with some strides forward in terms of developer tool integration.

On top of all that, we’re getting a freshly redesigned and more streamlined Settings app, and better support for the mouse and keyboard with Android apps, such as getting scroll wheels working properly.

However, that's not all, with the Android program for Windows 11 expanding to five other countries - France, Italy, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom will be able to access Android apps by the end of 2022.

For those hungering after a greater amount of choice in terms of applications, there will also be more Android apps available via WSA.

Analysis: Swift progress on the Android front

Microsoft is making good progress with developing Android on Windows 11, that’s for sure. And it’s equally good news to hear that the library of supported apps has been expanded, though Microsoft didn’t elaborate yet on what those fresh introductions might be.

Fingers crossed for some useful software coming through, of course. (Remember that the Android apps supported with WSA are from the Amazon App Store only – via the Microsoft Store – and not Google Play).

Naturally, the big caveat here is that this new incarnation of WSA remains in preview, so it might well be buggy. If you take the plunge right now, you can expect various glitches, no doubt…

While support for Android apps is still in beta, the full release of WSA should happen with the next big update for Windows 11, namely the 22H2 update, which could well be nearer than you think

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).