Arriving soon: the first major update for Windows 11 Here’s What’s Next

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Image: Microsoft – Coming soon are updates to Android applications and the taskbar. As part of today’s preview of Microsoft’s first big Windows 11 upgrade, the company demonstrated a new taskbar and Android app integration. A revamped Notepad and Media Player app and new methods to share windows are also coming to the desktop. A blog post by Panos Panay, the leader of Microsoft’s Windows division, hints at some of the improvements to come in Windows 11.

The taskbar will be updated to incorporate a mute and unmute option so that you don’t have hunt for the one hidden in your video program, Panay said. We don’t know many information about the upgrade yet. Windows 11 will also bring back the weather widget to the taskbar, make it simpler to share windows, and introduce two new apps: Notepad and Media Player.

With a New Look for Notepad and Media Player

Image: Microsoft

The Fluent Design language used throughout Windows 11 will be carried over to this app pair, which was previewed late last year. There will be rounded edges, flashes of color, and dark mode support, as well as tabs that are translucent. A “full-featured” music library and video capability will be added to Windows Media Player, which replaces Groove Music on the desktop. Meanwhile, a better find/replace tool and multi-level undo will be added to the Notepad program.

Image: Microsoft

Welcome to Windows 11 and the Android Apps

Android app integration is the major new feature that will be available as a “public preview” soon. The Amazon Appstore will be used instead of Google’s Play Store, as one would expect. You may search for Android applications straight from the Microsoft Store before being sent to Amazon’s Appstore for installation, which was originally tried in October. Android applications enable keyboard shortcuts and touchpad motions and can run in split-screen mode with other Windows programs. In terms of how many Android applications will be accessible, we’ve contacted Microsoft for further information.

We’re Changing the Way We Use Computers

Panay spent the most of the blog post looking over the success of Windows 11 and the ways PC demand and usage are evolving. For example, hybrid work and learning, shifting entertainment habits, and changing consumer behaviors for daily chores are all repeating themes. These assertions are backed up by some eye-opening data: More than six times as many people are using Microsoft’s Teams, Zoom, Slack and WebEx video and collaboration tools; streaming services have seen a 70% spike in use; gaming minutes have grown by 35%; and two times as many people are using their PC to purchase online.

According to Panay, Microsoft is experiencing “high demand” for Windows 10 and the upgrade offer is being taken up at double the pace it was when Windows 10 was introduced, according to Panay’s statements. The new operating system is said to have the “greatest product satisfaction of any edition of Windows,” but Panay didn’t explain what that meant. A 3x increase in Microsoft Store traffic and a 40% increase in time spent on Windows 11 PCs over Windows 10 users show that Windows 11 is a huge success (although the pandemic-fueled trends above are surely playing a role). Windows 11 Snap Layouts are being used by “almost half” of all Windows 11 users.

“Quality control was a top priority for the team, and we implemented the update in a methodical and gradual manner. The upgrade offer to Windows 11 is now into its last phase of availability, placing us ahead of our original target of mid-2022, we’re happy to announce today, “Panay wrote.”

There’s a New Moon in the PC Market

Last year’s PC shipping was 340 million, an increase of 27 percent over 2019. Microsoft claims its customer insights study has showed a nearly 50% rise in people using their PC for creative, gaming, or work on its 1.4 billion monthly active devices.

Microsoft must assure a seamless distribution of this next upgrade if it wants to sustain this success. You may want to hold off on installing it until any possible faults are worked out, given the issues it encountered with Windows 10 (see this tragedy).