Microsoft has taken the wraps off the next-gen version of Windows at its much-awaited virtual event today. Though the Redmond giant had previously stated that Windows 10 is the last version of Windows, it is making a major leap today. We are moving past the over 5-year-long legacy of Windows 10 with the launch of Windows 11. Yeah, the next-gen version of Windows is called Windows 11. It brings along a completely overhauled desktop UI, new Start Menu design, Microsoft Store improvements, and much more.
Windows 11 Announced: Check out the New Features
New Desktop UI + Start Menu
Right out of the gate, you will notice that Windows 11 bring a major UI upgrade. The taskbar icons are now centered, all apps have rounded corners, and Windows feels like a breath of fresh air. The biggest change has to be the redesigned Start Menu. Plus, it’s also floating (separated, not connected to the taskbar anymore) and has a new pop-up animation as compared to Windows 10.
While Microsoft has canceled its Chrome OS competitor, Windows 10X, the company has ported many of its design elements and features to Windows 11. That also includes a new startup sound (listen to it from the attached link), brand new wallpapers, a new out-of-the-box setup experience, and more.
New Settings + Action Center UI
Moreover, Microsoft has also revamped the Settings UI to make it look a lot cleaner and easy to access. There is also a redesigned ‘Action Center’ for quick access to certain settings and notifications in Windows 11. You have toggles for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Battery Saver, Focus Assist, and other key settings baked in here. The music playback window will now also show up in the Action Center. for And this is what it looks like:
The Redmond giant has also added a new “Snap Layouts” feature that makes it simpler for you to snap apps on your Windows 11 PC. You can now hover over the maximize button in apps to see the layout options, as shown below.
Windows 11 Widgets
The next big change in Windows 11 will have to be the new widgets panel. It is easily accessible from the new centered taskbar icons. It is a personalized feed that displays weather updates, the latest news curated to your liking, and more. We are currently unsure whether Windows 11 will support third-party widgets from other app makers or not.
Revamped Microsoft Store
As has been rumored for the longest time, Windows 11 brings a redesigned and more powerful Microsoft Store. The biggest change here is that the company now offers you access to UWP apps, PWAs, or Win32 apps right from the Store.
While that’s amazing news for users, the developers will also find value in the new Microsoft Store as the company is not forcing them to share revenue. Developers can bring their own commerce engine to their apps, keeping 100% of their revenue.
Another big upgrade to Microsoft Store comes in the form of Android apps support. Oh yeah, you read that right. The company has integrated the Amazon Appstore right into Microsoft Store to enable you to download Android apps on Windows 11. Microsoft utilizes Intel Bridge technology to make this a reality. You can then choose to pin these Android apps to the Start menu, taskbar, and other places.
Tablet/ Touch + Gaming Improvements
Microsoft says that Windows 11 is more intuitive on touch-enabled devices. The next-gen desktop OS feels the same on desktop and tablets. It is now easier to move around apps, support for improved gestures that are similar to those we already use on your trackpad, and immersive stylus/ Ink experience.
As for gaming improvements, Microsoft is adding support for Auto-HDR in Windows 11 to offer you a superior graphics experience. The company is also porting its Direct Storage API from Xbox Series X to enable faster launch speeds and gaming performance.
The new operating system also comes with native Microsoft Teams integration. You will be able to reach your friends or colleagues right from the taskbar, thanks to a dedicated icon in the taskbar. This is what it looks like:
Windows 11: An Exciting Upgrade for Windows!
So yeah, Microsoft is finally moving to Windows 11 from Windows 10 with a myriad of new and exciting upgrades. You get a new desktop UI, Windows 10X design elements, a set of new sounds and wallpapers, and other improvements. But all of that does not mean the Redmond giant is moving away from its Windows-as-a-service strategy. You will now get free Windows 11 updates for the years to come.