Microsoft on Thursday announced Windows 11, the next generation of Windows. The newest version of Windows comes after six long years after the launch of Windows 10. Windows 11 focuses on a new user interface, a new Windows Store, and improvements to performance.
Windows 11 features an overhauled design language, something consumers wanted to see from the next generation of Windows. “Today marks a major milestone in the history of Windows,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said. “It’s the beginning of a new generation.”
With Windows 11, the Start button and the taskbar are moved at the bottom of the display instead of the left side. The user interface reminds us of Windows 10x, the now-defunct operation system which was supposed to take on Google’s Chrome OS. It removes live tiles and replaces them with a grid of icons that can be rearranged and pinned to the new Start. There are rounded corners, along with widgets that include things like your calendar, weather, sports leaderboard. There’s also an improved System Tray with a new split Notifications and Quick Actions UI.
Panos Panay, Microsoft’s chief product officer, described the new desktop operating system as “the Windows that brings you closer to the things you love.”
Microsoft says it is also redesigning the Windows Store. Not just the brand new look, the company said Windows 11 will support Android apps via Amazon’s app store. This means millions of popular apps which weren’t available on Windows will be available to download on the most popular desktop operating system.
The Redmond-based company also said it is bringing some features from its Xbox consoles to Windows 11. These include automatic HDR, which basically adjusts the lighting and colour in a game. Of course, you need the right games and an advanced PC.
On the tablet front, Microsoft said it has made improvements to the overall experience when using touch. It is also making Microsoft Teams, its video conferencing chat platform, by integrating directly into Windows. So now Teams is integrated directly into the taskbar, thus allowing Windows 11 users to call friends, family, or colleagues.
Microsoft says that Windows 11 will begin shipping to consumers later this year, and Windows Insiders can begin testing a preview of the release as early as next week. Windows 11 will be a free upgrade for Windows 10 users, as long as you have a compatible PC that meets the requirements of Microsoft’s new operating system.