Windows subsystem for Android announced for prime time • The Register

First sight Microsoft has decided that the Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) – its offering, which runs Android VMs that behave like any other application in Windows – is sufficiently stable to be labeled version 1.0 and made available to all can.

Microsoft doesn’t seem to have made any official announcement about the product’s availability beyond the tweet below from Cory Hendrixson, who served as development manager for the project.

While it’s nice that Windows can now run Android VMs, Hendrixson’s tweet needs a bit of analysis. The “50,000 apps” he mentions are only available on Amazon.com’s App Store – not the larger Google Play Digital Tat Bazaar. Google’s apps are not in the Amazonian Store, nor are Microsoft’s. I couldn’t find Twitter, WhatsApp, Slack, any of the banks I use or the Australian government apps I need to access services. In fact, it’s hard work finding apps other than games on the store — and when a search term yields fruit, it returns things that look like fake apps screaming, “Here are dragons.”

The lack of an official announcement is also a bit worrying, as Microsoft broke news on Thursday about an update to the subsystem for the Windows Insider and Beta channels. This version is numbered 2209.40000.26.0, but the version of the subsystem downloaded when I tested the product is numbered 2207.40000.8.0 – which feels like it’s probably an earlier version.

The registry tested the subsystem on a 6th Gen Lenovo ThinkPad Carbon powered by a Core i5 8250 @ 1.6GHz and 8GB RAM. Installing WSA is very simple by installing the Amazon App Store through the Microsoft Store as a Windows application.

In doing so, Windows will guide you through the installation of the subsystem and run through some background information to ensure that Windows 11 is ready to run virtual machines. After a few minutes of work, Windows will restart and you can run WSA, which launches unbidden a few seconds later.

Once you’ve purchased an app from the Amazon App Store, it simply appears in Windows as another app. And once you run it, it behaves like any other app.

I had a conflicting experience with the subsystem. I decided to test it with Angry Birds – a well-known touchscreen-based app that shouldn’t weigh down a PC. This is what it looked like on my first run.

Windows subsystem for android screenshot

Windows Subsystem for Android with Angry Birds and Chrome – click to enlarge

I later tweaked the WSA settings to better recognize keystrokes, but my choices were grayed out until only forced auto-resize was left. Oddly enough, this act resulted in a bigger and faster Angry Birds that looked like this.

Windows subsystem for android screenshot

Windows subsystem for android screenshot behaves better – click to enlarge

Microsoft’s advice to developers suggests that WSA is an ideal way to target Windows users with code written for Android. However, it is noted that many things may need to be changed before an app behaves well on the desktop OS. For example, code that requires touch input might not provide a great user experience when used with a mouse and keyboard.

Your correspondent’s brief experience with the product suggests these caveats are necessary. As well as more useful apps to make WSA relevant to a wider audience beyond casual gamers. Last but not least, as things stand, WSA will offer developers working on Windows PCs a convenient way to test their work.

Speaking of developers, WSA has a GitHub page here. ®

https://www.theregister.com/2022/10/21/windows_subsystem_for_android_released/ Windows subsystem for Android announced for prime time • The Register

Rick Schindler

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