back to article Windows Subsystem for Android declared ready for prime time

Microsoft has decided the Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) – its offering that runs Android VMs which behave just like another application in Windows – is sufficiently stable that it can be designated version 1.0 and made available to all. Microsoft appears not to have made an official announcement about the product's …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nice one but

    I stopped at Windows 11. Sorry, no such animal on my farm.

    1. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: Nice one but

      Yeah, downgrading to Windows 11 so I can downgrade to Android doesn't entice me.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Nice one but

      no such animal on my farm.

      animal. farm. Orwell. Heh.

      On a related note, does THIS mean I can target Android as my ONLY development platform if I want to, and NOT EVEN BOTHER with Win-10-nic nor Win-II unless I write it for 7???

      I still need to target Linux/BSD of course but who knows, maybe a proper 'droid subsystem for those as well,...?

      [/me came up with a nice way of doing a 3D skeuomorphic button for Android using the 'droid SDK and Java - time to change the world!]

      1. fromxyzzy

        Re: Nice one but

        Given how many companies are now refusing to support anything prior to 8.1 (or almost as often, 10) it seems like you might not be the only one heading there.

      2. Steve Graham

        Re: Nice one but

        Android-86 runs perfectly on a Linux Qemu/KVM virtual machine, including having Google Play. I'm sure an ARM version could be made to work too, but Android-86 comes as a bootable ISO which can be started up with no messing about.

        1. captain veg Silver badge

          Re: Nice one but

          I have it in VirtualBox on Linux. Works fine.


    3. Cave_Homme

      Re: Nice one but

      Stopped at 10, won’t go beyond. It’ll be Mint or OSX for me once 10 support ends.

  2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    After a few minutes of work Windows reboots and you're ready to run WSA,

    Some things never change.

  3. Peter Galbavy

    So Piggly, what shade of lipstick would you like?

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      make sure you apply it to the end that goes 'oink'

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WSA or ASW?

    I'm confused by the name (it is Friday). Windows Subsystem for Android makes me think of a Windows subsystem running on Android. Surely this is an Android subsystem for Windows as you run Android apps on a Windows machine?

    1. that one in the corner Silver badge

      Re: WSA or ASW?

      You have made the noob mistake of thinking like someone who is fluent in English.

      To the marketeers and managers, it is far more important that "Windows" comes first otherwise, by the time they reach the third word and they've forgotten how the sentence started, they would just think the meeting was all about how to get Windows apps working on Windows - that meeting is on Tuesdays.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WSA or ASW?

      Windows Subsystem for Android is also correct: the intention was probably Windows having multiple subsystems, with this being the subsystem that provides support for Android - hence, Windows Subsystem for Android.

      Also, it could be that they wanted to go with something like "Windows Subsystem for Android Apps", but that would be unnecessarily verbose.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WSA or ASW?

      It's just like Windows Subsystem for Linux that also exists so that you can run all your legacy *nix stuff directly under Windows.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: WSA or ASW?

        Why would I want to do that when I can just run my "legacy stuff" directly on the machine hosting the Windows 11 VM? :)

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge

          Re: WSA or ASW?

          I've been to busy to get Win-II running in a VM. found articles on how to do it just haven't yet. But similarly, windows XP, 7, 8.1, 10 run fine in a VM.if I must use them. I *DO* have a single Windows 7 Pro box that I got at the tail end of its commercial availability though.

    4. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: WSA or ASW?

      SImilar, Windows Subsystem for Linux.

      From the perspective of Micros~1 it makes sense.

      It's kind of like you are dealing with hardware that has serial comms and the docs get "upload" and "download" backwards. Seen that more than once. The people writing the docs see it from the perspective of their gear, not of the control program running on the PC, slab, or phone. So they will upload their file to your control program, rather than download it from the device.

    5. Justin Pasher

      Re: WSA or ASW?

      It's a little awkward reading altogether, but it makes more sense to read it like

      Windows "Subsystem for Android"

      as opposed to

      "Windows Subsystem" for Android

      As others have pointed out, they did the same for Windows "Subsystem for Linux"

    6. ThomH

      Re: WSA or ASW?

      Windows Subsystem for Android = an adaptation of Android that works on Windows.

      Windows 11 = an adaptation of the number 11 that works on Windows.

      Microsoft Office = the version of Microsoft written by Office.

      “640kb ought to be enough for anybody” = an apocryphal claim that 640kb will be happy no matter who uses it.

    7. tojb

      Re: WSA or ASW?

      Indeed! Came here to bemoan the insane bloat of adding a windows compatibility layer to my fave mobile os. Seems it's actually just a rubbish vm tool for Windows. Hey ho.

    8. FIA Silver badge

      Re: WSA or ASW?

      It’s a hangover from Windows NT roots. Windows has ‘subsystems’ that present a specific personality to running applications. The main one being the Win32 subsystem.

      In the early days there was an OS/2 subsystem too.

      The first version of WSL was implemented as a (very specialised) subsystem. Hence it was a ‘Windows subsystem for [running] Linux [apps]’

      The name since stuck.

    9. captain veg Silver badge

      Re: WSA or ASW?

      The irony is that Windows itself is a subsystem running on ntoskrnl.


  5. that one in the corner Silver badge

    "Because we CAN!" (maniacal laugh)

    Aside from (see title) is there any real value in this?

    Even after asking the younger and/or hipper members of my coterie, all of the things we do on Android are far easier on the full-sized PC, decent keyboard and all.[1]

    The *only* way an Android version ever wins is the portability of the device.

    Even for things that the PC can not do, like take photos better than webcam quality: I could trivially upgrade the PC with a DSLR and USB cable but there really isn't anything worth snapping in my home office!

    [1] before you ask, no, so far we haven't found any cases where it is genuinely "easier on our App"

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: "Because we CAN!" (maniacal laugh)

      I remember when Blackberry added this to BB10, was a big red flag that it was about to die.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Because we CAN!" (maniacal laugh)

        Before that, even: OS/2 Warp had Windows 3.0 app support, which led to "OS/2 [being] a better DOS than DOS and a better Windows than Windows".

        Which ultimately led to nobody writing OS/2 programs, which, combined with Microsoft not licensing Windows 95 under the same scheme, led to OS/2's ultimate demise.

        1. bazza Silver badge

          Re: "Because we CAN!" (maniacal laugh)

          OS/2 was a better DOS and Windows, which did indeed have that end result.

          Win95 was a different problem. Even if MS had licensed it, the amount of RAM a Win95 process could address was 2Gbyte, whereas OS/2 limited processes to 512MByte. They'd have had to done a major rewrite of everything to be able to host Win95 apps, which would have broken EVERYTHING. (it was more about where abouts in virtual memory space allocations could turn up, not the total amount consumed).

        2. FIA Silver badge

          Re: "Because we CAN!" (maniacal laugh)

          Which ultimately led to nobody writing OS/2 programs, which, combined with Microsoft not licensing Windows 95 under the same scheme, led to OS/2's ultimate demise.

          Whilst the Microsoft of the time was fully in it's 'evil' stage it's worth remembering that a lot of the blame for the demise of OS/2 can be laid squarely at the feet of IBM. If you're several times more expensive, and supported on fewer machines, you're onto a losing battle already.

          This combined with IBM still being seen as a force in the computing world (and still having the arrogence that goes with it) didn't help.

      2. bazza Silver badge

        Re: "Because we CAN!" (maniacal laugh)

        I think this lives on. QNX has been pretty successful in car ICE systems, largely because of the effort Blackberry went to to add a decent mobile graphics layer on top of QNX. The Android subsystem is available there.

        The more companies that do this kind of thing, the more anti trust attention Google are going to face. They leverage Play Services and Play Store in a way that is getting them into trouble. A company like MS adding fuel to that fire ("Google refuse to interop") is likely to make things worse. This might be the sole reason MS has done it.

    2. butmonkeh

      Re: "Because we CAN!" (maniacal laugh)

      After getting Waydroid up and running with the Google Play Store, and arm app support on my Linux x86 laptop, I was very impressed with it. Touch / Pen input all working, arm games running great. I sat back, and admired it.

      I haven't launched it again for a few months.

      Apart from "Oh, that's cool".... I haven't found a use for it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Because we CAN!" (maniacal laugh)

        Touch and pen working on WayDroid? That's great to hear, will give it a spin!

        I'm curious though, what desktop environment do you use for touch support? Everything I've tried, including both GNOME and KDE, were hugely inconsistent: a hit or miss, touch/pen either worked splendidly or not at all (just as a mouse).

        1. butmonkeh

          Re: "Because we CAN!" (maniacal laugh)

          Yeah, I was surprised too. The pen even registers pressure for thin/thick lines in Android drawing apps! :)

          I'm running Fedora 36 KDE spin, wayland. Laptop is an Asus ROG Flow X13.

    3. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

      Re: "Because we CAN!" (maniacal laugh)

      "[1] before you ask, no, so far we haven't found any cases where it is genuinely "easier on our App""

      Silly wabbit, thinking they are talking about easier for you. It's easier for THEM. Using a browser only allows the virtual you to be tracked, while their app allows both the virtual you and the real you to be tracked.

    4. pip25

      Re: "Because we CAN!" (maniacal laugh)

      There are some control apps for smart home hardware that do not have desktop equivalents. At all.

      It's a sneaky way to force people to use their paid cloud offerings, because you're obviously not going to leave your tablet on 24/7 just to record security camera footage. Being able to run a mobile app on a PC does come in handy in such cases.

  6. SeanOConnor


    My guess is that sales of my (successful) games via this new system will be as dismal as sales via the Windows Store

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows (Microsoft) plus Android (Google)........

    .......why am I expected to find the addition attractive.....

    ------when both of the components are seriously repellent?

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      Re: Windows (Microsoft) plus Android (Google)........

      The Android version in WSA doesn't have Google spyware (Google Play Services) by default - instead, they did the Amazon Appstore, which, even given Bezos' data habits, beats full-fledged Google.

  8. ChrisC Silver badge

    "The amazing thing is just how pedestrian it is to run these apps."

    So you're saying it's a bit slow?

    "They feel like running a normal windows app..."

    Ah, that'd be a yes then...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So let me get this straight..

    This would now siphon off personal details to Microsoft before Google (or Amazon) gets its hands on them?

    I can't see either party sharing so it'll be interesting to watch the fight. If I were Apple I'd start adding popcorn vouchers to their iPhone packaging :).

  10. Lordrobot

    Just download an emulator and call it a day...

    Win 11 is a dead end just like Windows ME. Nice to see MSFT stiffing Google for Amazon. Then again who cares?

    Not a soul.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just download an emulator and call it a day...

      I'm reporting an account hijack - where are the pages upon pages of of ranting at MURICA?

  11. TeeCee Gold badge

    Code that assumes touch input, for example, may not deliver a great user experience when used with mouse and keyboard.

    This is something that Microsoft know very well, although actually building and shipping Windows 8 just to prove it still seems like overkill.

  12. phands

    I can scarcely contain my indifference.

    In my world, windows of any version is a clunky, seldom-used minor subsystem. If I do need Windows, I flash up a Virtualbox VM. If I want to do Android dev work, I use the tools on Linux or Mac.

    Windows is now mostly irrelevant.

  13. T-Lar Seth

    No where near stable, even on a newer gaming rig, I get 10-15 FPS max with lots of studder...will stick with BlueStacks.

  14. Stuart Castle Silver badge

    I have Windows 11 on my main PC, and am quite happy with it.

    My motherboard came with an installable android emulator. I installed it once, played around with it a little. Found it worked quite well, but didn't bother re-installing it when I had to re-install Windows (10 as it was). Why? Because I have no use for Android apps. OK, if I had an Android phone, I might have had some use, but I found using Android apps on my PC quite limiting, and would prefer to use a full Windows application for my needs if I have to use a PC. OK, so I have an iPhone, but I also have an M1 based Mac. I can run iPhone and iPad apps on that, but I've done that a couple of times, and found it limiting.

    I think Microsoft and Apple need to accept that computers and mobile devices have different use cases. They each have their uses, but are not a one size fits all solution.


    Who even cares?

    BlueStacks has been doing that perfectly for years already with Google play and Amazon and anything else you can do on Android.

  16. red03golf

    "Windows Subsystem for Android declared ready for prime time" - LOL!!!, using "Windows" and "ready" in the same sentence is an oxymoron.

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