Microsoft unveiled the Windows 11 operating system at a live virtual event, marking the first major upgrade since it launched Windows 10 in 2015. The latest version has lots of improved features as well as support for Android applications. It has also been redesigned, giving it a fresher look and a mac-like interface.
Windows 11 is free to get and will be rolling out to all Windows users currently using Windows 10. New PCs will also come with this latest version. You can check if your current Windows 10 PC qualifies for a free upgrade to Windows 11 by downloading the PC Health Check app on the Windows official website.
Here are all of the most exciting updates.
You can download and run android apps on your Windows PC
Android apps will now be supported on your PC if you are running Windows 11. On Windows 10, these apps were also supported but Microsoft’s ‘Your Phone’ app had to be installed before the apps could be used. But now, there is no need to download Your Phone app with 11.
The android apps can be downloaded to the PC from Amazon’s Appstore. Currently, there are about 500,000 android apps on that store and they include TikTok, Netflix and Uber. This means that not every one of the 3.5 million apps on the Google Playstore is available for download on Amazon’s Appstore.
The Start button has a new location – bottom centre!
In previous Windows versions, the Start button used to be on the left. With Windows 11, however, that is no longer the case. All users of the new upgrade will find the Start button right at the bottom centre of their PC screen, similar to the way it is displayed on Mac PCs.
According to Microsoft’s chief product officer, Panos Panay, this new and central location was designed to put the user of the PC at the centre and bring the much-needed options closer.
The new Start menu has a redesigned user interface with the search bar at the top, along with your pinned apps and recommended items below it. True to form, you can change your user profile and power your PC off from the Start button.
The taskbar is now in the bottom centre and yes, there are widgets
Perhaps one of the first things a user will notice when the PC loads are the redesigned taskbar. No longer does the taskbar align to the left, it is now centred in a macOS style. The clock, calendar and other icons are still on the right, but the left side is now empty.
Widgets is a compilation of information that the PC user may want to unwind with or catch up on. It is powered by AI and when the Widgets icon is clicked, it “slides across your screen like a sheet of glass”, according to Microsoft. Information presented on the Widgets can include Calendar, News, Weather and the To-Do list.
The user can rearrange and resize the widgets according to preference as well as toggle the widgets interface to fill the entire screen.
Microsoft Teams is integrated and Microsoft Store is more robust
With the new OS, Microsoft Teams is integrated into the Taskbar and can be accessed easily in a fashion similar to Apple’s FaceTime. With Chat from Microsoft Teams integrated into the Taskbar, users can instantly connect with others through text, voice or video calls as well as chat, regardless of the platform they are on.
Microsoft Store is also getting a new design and more apps are joining the family. Canva, Disney+, Visual Studio and Zoom are some of the popular apps coming on board to make the PC more interesting and useful for the user.
New improvements in voice typing and touch experience
Those who will use Windows 11 on a tablet without a keyboard can now look forward to an improved experience for touch. There is more space between the icons in the taskbar and the touch targets are much bigger. Also integrated are subtle visual cues that will make resizing and moving windows easier for the user.
One more thing, tablet users will be able to feel and hear the vibrations when they click, edit or sketch. According to Microsoft, “this will make using the tablet pen even more engaging and immersive.”
Those are the most impressive of the features that were announced. Some of the other features are a better gaming experience with new features in Xbox, better desktop support and an easier transition from monitor to a tablet. There is no definite date for when they will roll out yet but Microsoft says that will happen when the holidays kick in later in the year.