Microsoft has unveiled its next-generation Windows 11 OS after teasing it for the first time at the Build 2021 conference last month. The newly unveiled Windows 11 packs loads of new features, productivity tools, and most importantly, a clutter-free look designed for modern PCs and workstations. It appears that Microsoft is making substantial efforts to make its latest-gen OS equally compatible for touch-enabled laptops. At the moment, the Redmond, Washington-based tech giant is yet to reveal pricing (if any), compatibility, and exact availability details. Meanwhile, Dell has announced that its wide of portfolio of PCs will run Windows 11 later this year. Dell adds that customers buying its new PCs will be eligible for a free software upgrade after it is available.
Starting with the design, the new Windows 11 carries revamped app icons that have been existing since the antiquated Windows 95. As mentioned, taskbar icons now appear at the bottom-centre of the screen by default, similar to app icons on macOS on Apple PCs. Microsoft is also bringing new themes and wallpapers to elevate the clutter-free look. The taskbar, by default, brings new functionalities in the form of Widgets, Teams, and Xbox Game Pass apps. Before coming to that, Windows 11 has noticeably added a new functionality dubbed ‘Snap layout.’ It essentially sits on the minimise-maximise button that allows users to automatically place a tab at various positions of the screen. The advantage of this feature is that users can have multiple tabs working simultaneously on the same screen, in different size. Microsoft says that the Windows 11 updates are 40 percent smaller, more efficient, and consume less battery without sharing exact details.
In terms of productivity, Microsoft has integrated Teams video conferencing app by default on Windows 11. It will allow users to enjoy a seamless performance on PC and connected devices such as smartphones similar to FaceTime on Apple hardware. There’s also a Widgets button that pops a new screen from the right side. Powered by AI, it gets weather updates, news, and other important information in one neat panel. The widgets are housed inside a translucent sheet to give it a more clutter-free look. On desktop, it has a dedicated button on the taskbar, but on two-in-one, users can also activate it by a swipe gesture. Moving to gaming, Windows 11 brings a native Xbox Gaming Pass app on the system. It includes games that run on Xbox, and users can play them via their keyboard or Bluetooth-enabled gamepad. The Xbox Game Pass comes with a subscription, and the company is yet to reveal whether pricing for PCs will remain the same. Moreover, there’s a new ‘Auto-HDR’ tool that automatically improves colour and contast of games. There’s another Direct Storage API that helps loading games faster.
The Microsoft Store is also getting an update with a new look and interface. Most importantly, not only users can get in-house Microsoft apps, but it will also contain third-party apps and Android apps. Additionally, developers now have the freedom to upload apps in different formats such Win32, PDA and more. The company says it won’t take any commission from developers, which is a big boost for developers like Adobe. In terms of availability, Microsoft so far has only revealed that Windows 11 will come as a free upgrade on “eligible Windows 10 PCs” this holiday. More details from the company are awaited.