Microsoft reveals plans for Android apps for Windows 11

Windows 11 introduced the Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA), a way for Android apps to run on Windows PCs, typically downloaded from the Amazon Appstore. Microsoft now has a public plan to further improve this feature.

Microsoft has already made several improvements to WSA since the release of Windows 11, including updating the central hub from Android 11 to 12.1, improving performance, and adding more integrations with Windows. Microsoft has now released a GitHub repository for its Windows Subsystem for Android for app developers to find information and submit bug reports.

In addition, this repository also contains a public roadmap for future improvements to the WSA.

The timetable indicates that Microsoft is working on updating WSA for Android 13which would bring a lot of security improvements and bug fixes to Android apps – most of Google’s design improvements in Android 13 wouldn’t apply to the VM version, since all you see are applications.

Microsoft is also working on support for home screen shortcuts, “file transfer”, “picture-in-picture” mode and standard LAN access.

Functionality abandoned for the moment

The document also reveals a few features that aren’t coming to the Windows subsystem for Android, which Microsoft simply explains as “unavailable” — either because they don’t work under a virtualization layer or because there isn’t a sufficient need for the functionality. The list of blocked features includes hardware-level digital rights management, USB support, direct access to Bluetooth devices, and all widgets.

It’s still unclear whether Windows will allow easy installation of APKs in the subsystem – currently you have to use ADB or some other tool to install apps outside of the Amazon Appstore. It may be covered by the “file transfer” promise, but we’ll have to wait and see. Microsoft also still restricts the Windows subsystem for Android to areas where the Amazon Appstore is officially available.

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