Microsoft has officially unveiled the Windows 11 operating system. The latest OS will hit the shelves later this year. However, Microsoft has released a Windows 11 Insider Preview for testing purposes. Windows Insiders can download the build 22000.51 that includes access to the new start menu, multitasking features, and a revamped Microsoft store.
Unlike the Windows 8, which was a radical shift from the Windows 7 version, Windows 11 seems like an improvement on Windows 10. The new OS comes with an upgraded start menu and taskbar, which will sit at the centre of the display with newer animations, themes and quick settings. In addition, Android apps will be integrated into the new operating system, allowing users to run apps on Windows.
Start with pinned apps and cloud-powered “Recommendations” © Microsoft.
From rounded corners to the centring of content and new animations, the new OS has high visual appeal, and a Mac-like interface. Windows 11 users will have quick access to video conferencing with the integration of Microsoft Teams (available in the taskbar).
Auto HDR, DirectStorage and certain other functions found in Xbox consoles will now be available to enhance the gaming experience on Windows. Features like snap layouts, snap groups, and virtual desktops can be set up in order to facilitate multitasking along with multiple monitor scenarios. Collections of apps can be minimized and brought up at the same time, making it conducive for task switching.
Animated gif showing Snap layouts with three app windows. © Microsoft
In 2015, when Microsoft launched Windows 10, the operating system was presumed to be the final version of the OS. However, with the unveiling of the new OS, Microsoft said it will stop supporting Windows 10 from 2025.
Though the news of the latest operating system leaked sometime before the unveiling, Microsoft still managed to spring a surprise with the announcement of making Android apps available in the new OS. The apps can be downloaded from Amazon’s Appstore in the new OS. The apps can be pinned to the taskbar and start menu, resized, snapped allowing them to natively function within the system.
The Amazon partnership with the Microsoft app store opens up a new potential market for Android as well. This seems like a response to the Apple app store running iOS apps directly on Mac, made possible by its ARM based M1 processor. Now, Microsoft has integrated Linux to Windows for running apps.
The Windows Store will allow software developers to use their own in-app payment systems and charges no commissions. On the other hand, Apple is all about end-to-end control and only lets users download from its App Store and levies commissions of up to 30%.
Microsoft uses Intel Bridge technology to make this app integration possible on x86 systems. The intel powered apps will run on AMD and ARM processors as well, although details are not available at the moment. Mac OS’ Big Sur and the Apple app store seem to be the direct competitors.
Intel has already verified more than 80 Windows-based Intel® Evo™ platforms from top original equipment manufacturers, including Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, LG, MSI and Samsung, among others. Intel expects to deliver the broadest range of computing experiences for Windows 11 this year and beyond, with 10th Gen, 11th Gen and future generations of Intel Core processor-based platforms for consumers, businesses, education, enthusiasts and more.
“Today we offer a broad selection of mobile apps in our Amazon Appstore, available across Fire TV, Fire Tablets, and Android devices that our customers use and enjoy every day,” Palanidaran Chidambaram, Director of the Amazon Appstore and Cross-Screen Technology said. “With this announcement, Amazon Appstore developers will now have the opportunity to make their Android apps available to hundreds of millions of Windows customers.”
Recently, Amazon announced it would lower its margins on app developer revenues from 30% to 20% to promote small businesses. On the app store, non-gaming developers can get a chance to keep 100% of the revenue given they use their own platforms for in-app purchases.