Microsoft has officially announced Windows 11, the next-generation version of the world's most popular desktop operating system. The next major software update will be coming to all compatible PCs later in 2021. Here are some of the most exciting features we look forward to trying out:
1. Simplified design and user experience for better productivity - New user interface
Windows 11’s visual makeover includes rounded-corner program windows, new desktop themes and a revised eyestrain-saving ‘dark mode’ - all designed to create a simple, fresh, clean and beautiful experience.
One of the most distinctive new features is the new launcher-style floating Start Menu. Unlike the traditional Start Menu, the new Start sits right at the centre of the taskbar and has a flyout design with pinned and recommended apps.
2. A faster way to connect with your team - Access Microsoft Teams Chat bar directly from the taskbar
Windows 11 will build Microsoft Teams directly into the operating system, making it easier to access on a daily basis, directly from the taskbar. You will be able to click the Teams icon to launch a Chat tool, letting you choose if you want to message, text, voice, or video call one of your contacts. To open the full version of Microsoft Teams, you just need to click the box at the bottom of the Chat screen.
3. All your information at-a-glance - Customisable Widgets
Windows 11 will add Widgets to the interface -- an AI-powered customizable feed that slides out to show you info such as news, weather, a glimpse at your calendar and to-do list and your recent photos.
The button for widgets will be available on the newly redesigned taskbar. When you click or tap it, a panel will slide out from the left side of your screen with a series of widgets that give you the at-a-glance information you're looking for.
4. Maximise your productivity – Multi-task with Snap Layouts
The new ‘Snap Layouts,’ enable users to quickly place two, three, or four apps next to each other on a screen. When you hover your mouse pointer over a window’s maximize button, you will find various layouts for how you want to position the window. You can also invoke bring up a snap layout option with the “Win + Z” keyboard shortcut.
If you are working on multiple screens, ‘Snap Groups’ make sure that you can easily move between screen setups with your PC remembering app placement.
5. Access all the apps you need to do your best work - Download Android apps through the new Microsoft Store.
A much-anticipated change is that Android apps will be built into Windows 11 natively through the new Microsoft Store. Windows 11 marks the first time everyone will be able to download apps directly onto your PC.
Android apps will be in the new Microsoft Store via Amazon's Appstore. That means you'll need to download the Amazon Appstore to access the nearly 500,000 apps available there.
When will Windows 11 be released?
Windows 11 is due out later in 2021 and will be delivered over several months. Although Microsoft are yet to announce the official release date, some media outlets speculate this will happen sometime in October. The rollout of the upgrade to Windows 10 devices already in use today will begin in 2022 through the first half of that year.
How much will Windows 11 cost?
Windows 11 will be available through a free upgrade for eligible Windows 10 PCs and on new PCs.
Does your current PC meet the minimum system requirements for Windows 11?
- Processor, 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with 2 or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or System on a Chip (SoC)
- Memory, 4 GB RAM
- Storage, 64 GB or larger storage device
- System firmware, UEFI, Secure Boot capable
- TPM, Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0
- Minimum system requirements
- Graphics card, DirectX 12 compatible graphics / WDDM 2.x
- Display, > 9" with HD Resolution (720p)
- Internet connection, Microsoft account and internet connectivity required for setup for Windows 11 Home