Microsoft is generating quite a lot of buzz with their announcement of the upcoming release of Windows 11. It’s been almost 6 years since Windows 10 was released, so everyone is curious what Windows 11 will be bringing to the table.
Today we’re going to share what we know about the upcoming features, pricing, and advantages of the Windows 11 update. Spoiler alert: We think you’re going to love it!
Do we have an official release date?
While the beta is reportedly being released for June 28th, the actual release date of Windows 11 is unclear. The word on the net is that this update is going to be released close to the holidays, with an expected rollout starting as early as November 2021 and continuing on throughout the year.
If you aren’t ready for a system change or you are worried that the new OS might have some issues, you might want to disable your updates with some steps that you can find on Google just to ensure that you don’t get any surprise changes on your system before you are ready.
What will the Windows 11 update cost?
You’ll be happy to know that current Windows 10 users can get the upgrade for free! That’s right, there is no charge for upgrading to the latest and greatest Microsoft platform. As far as for new systems, we do not have any pricing information available at this time.
We do have some information on feature changes, however, so let’s take a peek at what you can expect with Windows 11.
Yes… The User Interface is getting an overhaul
Microsoft loves to change the user interface in Windows. This always gets a mixed reception, with power-users generally being upset with ‘everything being moved’ and many other users being excited to learn the new changes.
Love it or hate it, the UI is changing, to a more rounded Mac-type interface. We know that the ‘start’ button will be moved, though likely still accessible with the ctrl-esc keys for hotkeys users, and windows will be more rounded, rather than angled at the edges to give the interface a smoother look.
Overlapping windows will also have a bit of a ‘frosted glass’ look to them, but aside from the general look the real interest in the upgrade has to do with some nifty new features that are being implemented which we will detail next.
You’ll be able to run Android apps on your PC
Do you run an Android emulator on Windows 10? You’ll love the news if you do, because Windows 11 is expected to have built-in support for running your favorite Android apps. This is excellent news both for the expanded functionality and for closer integration with our phones, which get used as much as or even more often than our PCS.
Widgets are back, too
Widgets are making a comeback as well, with a widget icon being present on your new taskbar that will let you customize the appearance of your screen. This means you have an at-a-glance calendar, newsfeeds, and more customized to your own personal needs and desires. So, if you want to put up photos, your ‘to-do’ lists and more, you can do it with ease after the Windows 11 update.
Create multiple desktops optimized for what you need
Another feature that has generated a lot of interest is the ability to create and customize multiple desktops. Windows 11 is finally incorporating that much-loved feature that previously only came with Linux operating systems.
With Windows 11 you will be able to create multiple desktops, each with their own widgets, backgrounds, and icon collections so that you can have a desktop for gaming, for work, and any other uses that tickle your fancy. It’s really an amazing feature and we are looking forward to seeing how it works in practice.
If it doesn’t slow the system down, this is one feature we’re definitely looking forward to!
Snap Layouts and Snap Groups
Sometimes you’ve got a lot of windows open and even the alt-tab shortcut doesn’t seem fast enough for finding the window that you were working in. To make things easier, Snap Groups and Snap Layouts are 2 organizational features that will be present in Windows 11. So, how do they work?
With a Snap Layout, you can select the square located between your minimize and close option on a window, and when you choose this you will be given options for layouts that can organize your windows in different ways.
You can put your layouts together in Snap Groups, which are easily accessible from your taskbar so that you now have a way to group like windows togethers so that they are better organized. This is a great option, especially for project work. For instance, you can group all your research information in a Snap group for a particular project, making it easy to reference and access.
You could create a Snap group for different messengers, so that all of your social interfaces are grouped together in one area. This is some serious customization and we are looking forward to seeing it in action.
For HDR compatible screens and a growing host of games, AutoHDR is being implemented and from the previews it looks really nice. This is a feature that has been briefly touted in Windows 10 builds which will now be a standard part of Windows 11.
AutoHDR and Direct Storages features are good news for gamers
This will be a welcome addition to most, but power-gamers may have their own opinions about it. We’ll just have to see how it is received.
Another feature that is coming for gamers is Direct Storage and this is expected to have an impact on how quickly your games will load and even how they will be designed in the future. Taking advantage of the NVMe SSDs present in most systems, it is expected to make streaming smoother and also to make textures and levels load much more quickly.
That said, whenever a new technology like this is incorporated for gaming features, a lot is going to depend on how many programmers get ‘on-board’ with the new functionality. As such, expect only a handful of games to take advantage of this technology until it catches on.
Thankfully, with the popularity of Xbox consoles. Microsoft has a lot of pull when it comes to getting 3rd parties to comply with new and innovative standards, so we expect the list of compatible games to grow very quickly.
Some final words on Windows 11
As you can see, there are some very interesting new updates to the User Interface and the functionality that are expected to come with the Windows 11 upgrade. If you would like to upgrade now, the beta is available and may be accessed here. This link will allow you to register for the Windows Insider program so that you may access the Windows 11 beta.
If you don’t want to upgrade just yet and prefer to wait and see how the upgrade plays out after a few months, then don’t forget to turn off your automatic updates and this should buy you some time so that you can see how the new OS is being received.
So, keep an eye out starting in November and before you know it, you’ll be taking advantage of the new features in the next generation of Windows!