Windows 11 has been announced today. As expected, it comes with several new features and improvements. It has arrived as the first major OS upgrade after the Windows 10, which was announced around six years ago. Windows 11 will be available as a free upgrade for Windows 10 users.
Windows 11 comes with a revamped user interface that brings a new start experience, a refreshed taskbar, new way to manage windows, and redesigned Microsoft store. The new OS also offers improved gaming capabilities and the icing on the cake is that it carries support for Android apps.
Windows 11: all the new features
Windows 11 comes with several enhancements to the user interface. Here’s a look at the top new features in the latest Windows upgrade.
Revamped Start menu
Windows 11 has the Start Menu placed at the center of the taskbar. Instead of Live Tiles, the Start Menu now features a search bar, pinned apps and frequenty used apps. The taskbar also gives access to the Teams app, which can be used for chatting, calling, and video calls across different OS platforms.
Hovering over the maximise button on a window will display pre-made panes such as two-pane or four-pane for viewing multiple apps on the same screen. While this feature is called Snap Layouts, Windows 11 also offers something called Snap Groups that will let users save the layout that they made for their apps.
Improved tablet experience
Windows 11 features AI-driven widgets that slide in from the left side of the display. It gives access to news, weather, maps, and so on. Windows updates will be 40 percent smaller than before, and they will run in the background. The new OS also offers a better experience on tablets. While it does not feature a dedicated tablet mode like before, the Windows 11 can recognise when a device is used as a tablet to offer users a touch-friendly user interface with bigger icons, more spacing, an intuitive keyboard, and so on. It also brings support for new features and haptic feedback on certain styluses.
Enhanced PC gaming experience
Gaming is also a major focus in Windows 11. For enhanced gaming, it will come with support for auto HDR, DirectStorage API, and Xbox Game Pass. The Microsoft Store has also received a much-needed uplift in terms of design. In addition, it will serve as a platform for all kinds of apps such as Win32 apps, Universal Windows Apps, and Progressive Web Apps.
Support for Android apps
At the end of the Windows 11 launch event, Microsoft surprised the audience by confirming that the new OS will come with support for Android apps. Users will be able to run popular Android apps like TikTok through a dedicated window. Android apps will show up on Microsoft Store, but they can be downloaded and installed through Amazon App Store. This indicates that Windows 10 is unlikely to ship with Google Mobile Services.
Windows 11 system requirements
Windows 11 will work on systems that have 64-bit 1GHz or faster processor or SoC, at least 4GB of RAM, 64GB or higher amount of storage, UEFI or Secure boot capable storage as system firmware, TPM 2.0 support, DirectX 12 compatible graphics / WDDM 2.x, and at least 9-inch or higher display with 720p or above resolution.
Microsoft is offering a nifty tool called PC Health Check, which can be used to confirm whether a PC can run Windows 11. This app can also be used to check other things like back & sync, Windows update, and so on.
Windows 11 release date
According to Microsoft, new PCs running on Windows 11 will begin shipping by late 2021. Around the same time, Windows 10 users will receive Windows 11 as a free upgrade through a software update. It will be an optional update that will let users continue to use Windows 10 until its support ends in 2025. As far as Windows Insiders users are concerned, the company will be rolling out the first build of Windows 11 as early as next week.