Microsoft Teams could become a lot faster with a new app for Windows 10

Microsoft Teams PC
Microsoft Teams PC (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is reportedly working on a web-based version of Microsoft Teams.
  • The app is codenamed "Maglev," and it reportedly performs better than the Electron version of Teams.
  • The web-based app could potentially replace the current Teams app, though that's not confirmed at this point.

Screenshots and information about a new version of Microsoft Teams popped up over the weekend (via OnMSFT). The first details came from well-known leaker WalkingCat, who shared a link to Teams Alpha. To use that version of Teams, you need an internal Microsoft account, so you can't just download and test it. That being said, some people managed to get it working.

Twitter user Jesse Mikael Järvi appears to have gotten Teams Alpha to work and shared some insights about it on Twitter.

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According to Järvi, the app's performance is better than the Electron version of Teams. Järvi notes that a version with native code would be even better, but that might not ever happen.

Microsoft has a doc (opens in new tab) about how Teams works, including how it's built on Electron. Being built on Electron allows Microsoft to develop Teams quickly in a way that works across platforms, but it's not the only way to see those benefits. That doc actually has a screenshot comparing the memory usage of the Teams Web app and the current Teams desktop app. The web app uses slightly more memory in that instance, though that could change in future versions of Teams.

According to WalkingCat, the app is codenamed Maglev. We don't have a release date or any more details about the app at this time. The new web-based version of Teams might replace the Electron version at some point, but that's only speculation at this time.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

17 Comments
  • How much faster can it be. Didn't even notice it was slow
  • Yeah, Teams is amazing. It's one of the most responsive apps on the computer. Never lags. That said, it does use a lot of RAM. I could easily imagine that if you only have 4GB of RAM (or 8GB with several programs running), it might lag just to swap it all back into active memory from the cache.
  • I've noticed periodic slow downs and lag in responsiveness after updates but it usually gets patched pretty quickly. That said, Electron apps are garbage in terms of performance. Teams is definitely more optimized than a typical Electron app, but its memory use could be cut dramatically if it was UWP native.
  • I love Teams, and once it gets streaming, I think its performance is better than the major competition (Zoom). However, the app itself, like *all* Electron apps, is laggy on even state-of-the-art hardware. Click anywhere and you will notice a small delay until whatever you asked to happen happens. It is in no way a deal-breaker, but it is weird to use programs in 2021 that feel slower than similar counterparts did decades ago (like ye olde Skype, for instance).
  • I hope this brings all the strengths of the desktop version to the web version. I currently use both the Electron Desktop app, because it provides a few more features than Teams on the web, and also the existing web version via Edge's "Install this page as an app." I would prefer the desktop app version over the web version, but it's completely broken if you need to join multiple tenants (domains). The web version makes this trivial with one per profile. Desktop Teams (stupidly, in my opinion) does not let you connect to more than 1 account at a time -- if you want to join more than 1, you have to sign out of one to join the other. Because Teams is intended for real-time communication, this would be like having to sign in to get text messages from your office, and while signed in there, your wife can't also text you. Just stupid (fixing this is on Microsoft's Teams roadmap). Using the web version addresses that. On the other hand, the current web version is limited in some key areas -- you can still share windows during a meeting but can't see which window you're sharing (no highlight), you can't see more than 4 video participants, no badge in the Taskbar to indicate waiting messages, etc.
  • Why not a UWP version?
  • PWA is more universal, and thus, easier to maintain across platforms.
  • They can't claim premium app if it's pwa.
  • To cut development costs.
  • I agree. A PWA is cheaper to develop and easier to maintain, but Microsoft should be making it's own apps as native UWP applications for Windows 10 and 10X. Afterall, if Microsoft doesn't build its apps natively for its own platform why should anybody else?
  • A separate but related question: Why not in the Microsoft Store?
  • UWP is dead.
  • PWA is premature dead
  • It’s still going to be HTML+JS garbage though. That won’t fix the general slowness and and memory hogging. That said, if they were to make a web assembly version it might get better.
  • At lease they finally acknowledged Teams is bloated garbage.
  • Who knows? Maybe it'll be a Blazor app.
  • What exactly is the difference here? Electron is largely just a chromium wrapper, same concept as WebView, they both run web apps on the desktop (although Electron also includes a node server as well). Are there changes to the app, or just swapping electron for WebView? The main benefit would be a smaller download size for the app, since the user doesn't need to download a whole separate instance of chromium, instead using the one already in the OS. Memory usage might go down a bit, but you're still using chromium so its not going to be massive... it's more of a positive side effect. There are some charts here https://blog.stevensanderson.com/2019/11/18/2019-11-18-webwindow-a-cross... which detail it a bit more, mostly pertaining to a .NET app but the charts would apply to any electron vs WebView app. To really make a difference in memory usage they'd have to drop chromium, and switch to something more like what is being worked on with Project Reunion. Would make cross-platform more complicated, but there are still ways around that, like if they used .NET they could have a Blazor web app and Xamarin mobile app. IMO they should be doing this, even if only to push their own tech. Hard to convince any other devs to use the tech if MS won't use it themselves.