Android apps on Windows: Microsoft's project takes another big step forwards

If you want to run your favourite Android apps on Windows 11, you now have 50,000 to choose from.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer
Image: Shutterstock / photobyphotoboy

Microsoft has released an update for Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) on Windows 11 that addresses more gaps in cross-system support. 

This update to WSA, version 2209.40000.26.0, brings improvements to camera support, clipboard stability, multi-threaded performance, security for graphic streaming, and package launches. 

It also introduces security updates to the Linux kernel, general platform stability, and updates it to Chromium WebView 105. It's available on the Windows Insider Dev and Beta channels, according to Microsoft's blogpost

Also: The 10 best Windows laptops: Top notebooks, 2-in-1s, and ultraportables

Microsoft says WSA has reached 'version one', as one of its engineers tweeted earlier before the new release arrived: "Windows Subsystem for Android is officially v1. 31 markets and over 50,000 apps! The amazing thing is just how pedestrian it is to run these apps. They feel like running a normal windows app... WAPost, Kindle Reader (on my SurfaceGo3), and Subway surfer are my favs," said Cory Hendrixson, a development manager on the project.

WSA consists of the Linux kernel and an Android OS based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). WSA runs on a Hyper-V virtual machine, just like the Windows Subsystem for Linux. It needs to map the runtime and application programming interfaces of Android apps in AOSP to things like inputs and the Windows graphic layer. 

Microsoft has checked-off most of its targeted features for WSA, but wants to add support for Android widgets, direct Bluetooth access, file backup and restore, file transfer, hardware DRM, picture-in-picture, and USB. Also in its sights are support for Android 13 and local network access by default.  

Amazon is also pressing ahead with its support of WSA with Android apps for Windows 11 PCs from the Amazon Appstore.  

Amazon this week opened up its developer preview of the Amazon Appstore on Windows to all Android developers. The store also has a catalog of 50,000 apps in marketplaces for Windows 11 users in the US, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, Canada, Australia, and Germany, according to Amazon. 

Previously, Amazon had a closed developer beta and US Windows 11 users had access to about 1,000 Android apps. 

So, this is a significant step forwards, even though WSA has gained limited traction with Windows 11 users to date. 

Editorial standards