Windows 11: Key new features of Microsoft's new PC OS

Windows 11: Key new features of Microsoft's new PC OS

Redmond-based software major Microsoft on Thursday (June 24) unveiled the new generation Windows 11, which will succeed the six-year-old Windows 10 later this fall.

Microsoft showcased several new features and design changes coming in the new Windows 11. Some of the prominent include the all-new refurbished home page, support for Android apps, enhanced security, visually pleasing widgets to offer customised news feed on the home screen, and more.

"Our devices weren’t just where we went for meetings, classes and to get things done, but where we came to play games with friends, binge watch our favorite shows and, perhaps most meaningfully, connect with one another. In the process we found ourselves recreating the office banter, the hallway chatter, workouts, happy hours, and holiday celebrations – digitally," said Panos Panay, Chief Product Officer, Windows + Devices.

"What was so powerful was the shift in the PC we saw and felt – from something practical and functional to something personal and emotional. This is what inspired us as we were building the next generation of Windows. To build you a place that feels familiar, where you can create, learn, play, and most importantly, connect in all-new ways. Today, I am humbled and excited to introduce you to Windows 11, the Windows that brings you closer to what you love," Panay added.

Windows 11: Key features you should know about Microsoft's new PC OS
Redesigned Home page: The first thing we notice while getting started with the Windows 11-based PC's home screen is the new system opening sound, blue-ribbon wallpaper, start button, taskbar, fonts, icon. Also, by default, the Start button with the trademark Windows logo has been moved to the center, very similar to the macOS. But, if don't you can always revert it back to the left bottom corner, as we see in Windows 10.

Once you tap on the Start button, you will see the wide array of installed apps on the top, and below, you will see all the recently opened Microsoft apps. It doesn't matter the user opened those apps on Android or on an iOS device, they will get listed on Windows PC's Start menu. This continuity feature will help users to carry the work forward on the laptop exactly from where they left on the other device.

All-new home page of Windows 11 OS. Credit: Microsoft

Windows simplified for multitasking: Windows 11 is bringing  Snap Layouts, Snap Groups, and Desktops to provide an efficient way to multitask things on the PC. Users can open and place multiple apps side-by-side to juggle between them based on priority with ease.

Also, it offers customisation for users to have separate desktop divisions for personal (gaming/binge-watching movies or TV series) and work (or school for students). With this, users can re-organise the windows and optimise the screen real estate so they can see what they need just the way you want in a layout that’s visually clean. 

Microsoft Teams Chat integration: It's no surprise at all. We saw this coming as others such as Google and Apple offer their messenger apps pre-loaded with their respective devices.

Microsoft too has joined the bandwagon and has integrated Microsoft Teams' Chat feature right into Windows 11. Going forward, PC users will be able to message, make voice or video calls and send multimedia content right from the PC to others with an iPhone or Android mobile, provided they have installed the Microsoft Teams app. If they haven't, they can still do two-way SMS text communication to those devices.

Support for Android apps: This is one major upgrade we see in Windows 11, as it allows third-party Android apps to work seamlessly on a Windows PC just like they do on a mobile device. For instance, Users can find the TikTok app find on Windows Store, you can either install the PC or else go for the Android app. If you want the latter then, press on the Android app version, and they will be directed to Amazon App Store. There, you can directly download and install the Android TikTok app on the Windows 11 PC. Yes, it is a bit complicated. We have no idea why Microsoft just couldn't collaborate with Google to integrate the Play Store with Windows Store instead of the Amazon App Store.

Android apps can run on Windows 11 PCs. Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft added that the developer firms are open to offer the app with their own commerce plan on Windows Store and keep 100% of the revenue. Meaning, they need not pay any commission at all to Microsoft. If they don't have their billing system, they can seek help from Microsoft for competitive 85/15 per cent revenue share.

It should be noted that Apple and Google take 30 per cent cut on all in-app purchase on their platforms. If the companies are small with less than a million earnings per annum, they have to pay 15 per cent commission as gatekeeping charges.

Newly designed Microsoft Store: The new Microsoft Store has a discernible change in terms of interface compared to the one we see on Windows 10. Users can easily find all content – apps, games, shows, movies in a single place. It is easier to search for and discover with curated stories and collections. Some of the new entrants to the Windows Store include Disney+, Adobe Creative Cloud, Zoom and Canva.

Security: The Windows 11 is a Zero Trust-ready operating system and promises to protect data and access across devices. "We have worked closely with our OEM and silicon partners to raise security baselines to meet the needs of the evolving threat landscape and the new hybrid work world," the company said.

Gaming: Soon-to-be-released PCs with Windows 11 inside promise to offer an enhanced gaming experience. Microsoft says that the new OS has been designed to make full use of the latest hardware. For instance,  DirectX 12 Ultimate feature will enable breathtaking, immersive graphics at high frame rates; DirectStorage will help in faster load times and more detailed game worlds; and Auto HDR for a wider, more vivid range of colours for a truly captivating visual experience. 

Gaming on Windows 11 PCs. Credit: Microsoft

With Xbox Game Pass for PC or Ultimate, gamers are entitled to get access to over 100 high-quality PC games with new games added all the time.

Visually appealing Widgets: Having learned hard lessons from Windows 8, Microsoft has made really good progress with Windows 11. The screen-shot shared by the company is really gorgeous and it says, there are customisation options for Widgets so users can place them in the right corner and add visual appeal to the Home page.

"When you open your personalized feed it slides across your screen like a sheet of glass so it doesn’t disrupt what you’re doing," Panay said.

The company also added they giving more free hand to widget developers to create make the best use of the open Windows home page.

Microsoft said that Windows 11 will be released as a free software update to all eligible computers later this fall (probably in September). 

Get the latest news on new launches, gadget reviews, apps, cybersecurity, and more on personal technology only on DH Tech.

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