Microsoft today announced Windows 11, its next major version of its desktop operating system. This new version includes several enhancements, such as a revamped UI and updated window management features. It also supports Android apps.
The redesigned Start menu and taskbar are the first things you’ll notice. Windows 11 uses a macOS-style taskbar icon layout that is centered on the macOS design, instead of the traditional left-aligned layout used in previous Windows versions. The miscellaneous items, such as clocks and icons, remain on the right. However it does make the left feel empty.
The new Start menu is at the center of the design. It drops in the middle and features a completely redesigned interface. The search bar is at the top of the new menu, with pinned apps below and a bunch of recommended items to the right. Here you can change your user profile or turn off your computer.
Windows 11 also includes Snap Layouts and Snap Groups. This makes it easier to quickly arrange multiple windows around your desktop. This layout can also be saved so that it is available for you to transfer between monitors.
Microsoft has also taken advantage of this opportunity to integrate its Microsoft Teams app directly into Windows OS. Teams, which is a messaging/video calling app, is integrated into the taskbar. You can call, text, and even send your family members or friends using it.
Windows 11 also has widgets. These widgets are located on a separate screen that can be pulled in from the left side of the screen. Widgets, as seen on other platforms will give quick glanceable information from any of your apps that support this feature.
Microsoft also offers better support for touchscreen devices. When you switch to tablet mode (e.g. on touchscreen computers), the OS will adjust its layout accordingly. A new one-handed keyboard has been added to improve voice and text typing. Select pen models will offer haptic feedback for those who use a stylus.
Microsoft will bring over Auto HDR from its Xbox Series consoles for gamers. This feature will allow HDR output from even games that do not support HDR. DirectStorage is another feature that was developed for Xbox consoles. It will now be available on PC. This takes advantage of NVMe SSD storage and significantly speeds up game loading times. The new Xbox app will integrate Game Pass, an online subscription service for games.
Microsoft has also redesigned its Store app for Windows 11. It has a new UI, which is faster to load and work. However, the most important feature is the Android app support. Partnering with Amazon and Intel, Android apps that are already available will be made available through the Microsoft Store. They will run on Windows 11 without any modifications.
Windows 11 is a significant update to Windows’ operating system. Microsoft has not yet revealed a release date, but promised that it would be available in the holiday season, and will continue through 2022. It will be available as a free upgrade for anyone who is currently using Windows 10.