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Windows 11 Highlights: New Icons, Integrated Teams, Widgets, Free Upgrade and More

The Windows 11 launch has triggered many to wonder if it will be “new” enough to mark a big enough change over Windows 10, and all our questions will be answered shortly.

News18.com | June 24, 2021, 21:18 IST
Windows 11 leaked screenshot. (Image Credit: Twitter/@tomwarren)

Windows 11 is here, and Microsoft has confirmed that the new generation of the Windows computing experience will feature new icons and a new, refreshing UI design at its heart. The new Windows interface definitely looks smart and in line with the new generation. File Explorer finally does not look prehistoric, and you get a centrally placed Start button, among other things. There is a new Widgets tab that Microsoft is betting big on, complete with curated content and app widgets. Talking of apps, Microsoft Store has a new UI and better organised features. It also gets Android apps that you can install directly to your PC. In terms of gaming, Microsoft has brought Auto HDR and Direct Storage API for faster fast travel in eligible games.

Prior to launch, in terms of upgrades, in line with expectations was a new interface that was slated to put the start button at the centre of the bottom taskbar. There was also a new array of app icons with a new generation design, up to date with modern design standards and preferences – and more consistent with the image that Microsoft wants to present of itself right now. In his wrap-up speech, Microsoft chief Satya Nadella affirmed the philosophy behind Windows 11, calling it the face of the company that is building itself for the next decade. The speech was poignant and substantial as always from Nadella, and also highlighted the services and developer focus that Microsoft hopes Windows 11 would bring to the table.

As expected, brands have begun confirming free upgrades to Windows 11 for existing and new Windows 10 PCs, once it becomes available. Exact availability and pricing are set to come soon.

Jun 24, 2021 21:18 (IST)

...and that's that. Windows 11 is here, and we'll bring you more details on pricing and launch and updates, real soon. Stay tuned to News18 Tech, for more details on the new gen Windows 11. And with that, it's a good night from our end. See you on the other side, with more details.

Jun 24, 2021 21:17 (IST)

That was a superbly substantial speech from Nadella, explaining why they built Windows 11, and what they aim to target. They didn't need a new Windows, but at the same time, it was a hindrance for Microsoft to appeal to a new generation of usability and design.

Jun 24, 2021 21:15 (IST)

Nadella states that this is the first version of a new era for Windows, and Microsoft's building this for the new decade to come. So, no longer promising that this is the last ever Windows.

Jun 24, 2021 21:14 (IST)

Moral of what Nadella's saying – Windows 11 was born to give new life to Microsoft's services push, and move beyond Windows 10. It needs to look new gen, to appeal to new gen users. It's actually a pretty substantial speech.

Jun 24, 2021 21:11 (IST)

And Satya Nadella is here, talking about what Windows stands for. Good to see you, Satya.

Jun 24, 2021 21:10 (IST)

Aaaaaand with that, Panay is wrapping up. A lot of the 'new' features that Microsoft just showed (particularly Game Pass) seems like it was already there... wasn't it?

Jun 24, 2021 21:08 (IST)

Another biggie – Android apps are coming to Windows, and not through emulators. You can directly install them on your PC. But, here's the complex bit – Microsoft has achieved it by integrating the Amazon app store into the Microsoft Store, which it has done by applying Intel Bridge technology so that it works seamlessly. As long as it works in one click for me, Panos.

Jun 24, 2021 21:07 (IST)

Microsoft Store will support Progressive Web Apps, and apps that are built on the Universal Windows Platform – even though Microsoft has moved away from the latter.

Also, BIG UPDATE – Microsoft just stated that it will let apps sell in-app content through their own payment instruments, and not compulsorily use Microsoft's. If they do use their own, Microsoft will take NO revenue shares from them. This will be BIG in terms of the anti-competitive debate. Shots fired!

Jun 24, 2021 21:04 (IST)

Finally, the Microsoft Store has a new (and acceptable) look.

Jun 24, 2021 21:03 (IST)

Will Auto HDR make a big enough difference?

Jun 24, 2021 21:02 (IST)

Now, here comes Xbox Game Pass for PC, which will come from EA Play, Bethesda and more. It also gets Xbox Cloud Gaming integration, which'll let you remote-game on your PC as long as your Xbox is on the same Wi-Fi network.

Jun 24, 2021 21:01 (IST)

Next up – Direct Storage API comes to PC, from Xbox devices. This should speed up buffer times and make in-game navigation much faster.

Jun 24, 2021 21:00 (IST)

Microsoft says that it will upgrade ALL games to HDR, as long as your PC supports it.

Jun 24, 2021 20:59 (IST)

Okay, first update: Windows 11 will have Auto HDR upgrade to games on PC.

Jun 24, 2021 20:59 (IST)

"Superior graphics, amazing speed," says Bond about the Windows 11 gaming experience. That's not exactly their credit... is it?

Jun 24, 2021 20:57 (IST)

Sarah Bond, CVP of Xbox is finally here. We've been waiting for this since start. Let's hear you, Sarah!

Jun 24, 2021 20:56 (IST)

FINALLY, gaming. GO PANAY!

Jun 24, 2021 20:56 (IST)

Finally, we're talking about the new Microsoft Store. There's a new Entertainment tab, and an easy, built-in casting tab.

Jun 24, 2021 20:55 (IST)

Here's a look at how widgets appears on your desktop. You can rearrange, resize and customise pretty easily, or so the demo shows.

Jun 24, 2021 20:54 (IST)

Voice Type is now better and integrated into Windows 11, and recognises punctuations, too.

Jun 24, 2021 20:53 (IST)

Windows 11 now adjusts better between different form factors, and better usability gestures, says McClure. For instance, swiping through photos works the same way as you'd if you were using a trackpad.

Jun 24, 2021 20:52 (IST)

Philip McClure of Microsoft's product marketing team is now here, and for starters, he's pretty easy and comfortable in front of the camera.

Jun 24, 2021 20:51 (IST)

Next new feature to Windows 11 – Windows Widgets. It's a "personalised feed powered by AI, serving you curated content." If only we had a penny for every time we heard this phrase...

Jun 24, 2021 20:50 (IST)

The big question, though – are you a bottom-corner Start button person, or a centre Start button person?

Jun 24, 2021 20:49 (IST)

I like the new UI, obviously. It's more than likeable enough, thanks to Microsoft finally realising the need for a new UI. Let's hope there are more upgrades to follow, too.

Jun 24, 2021 20:49 (IST)

It's official – Teams is Microsoft's formal FaceTime now. In simpler words – Microsoft Teams is now integrated into Windows 10, by default. This'll work for Microsoft because Teams is available on all platforms – iOS and macOS included.

Jun 24, 2021 20:47 (IST)

Panay's now talking about connectivity, while we're really waiting to hear about gaming related updates.

Jun 24, 2021 20:46 (IST)

Windows 11 has multiple desktops for better organisation, and with individual wallpapers on each. "Have as many as you need," says Microsoft, but there'll most likely be some upper limit anyway.

Jun 24, 2021 20:44 (IST)

Snap Groups lets you switch to a different app (if you need to), and automatically switch back to the full multi-app view later. That's quite like how multitasking view works already in Samsung's OneUI.

Jun 24, 2021 20:43 (IST)

Now, we're talking about Snap Layouts, which lets you select snap-able grids for multiple apps on one screen. No OS lets you snap so many screens together.

Windows 11 Highlights: New Icons, Integrated Teams, Widgets, Free Upgrade and More
Windows 11 leaked screenshot. (Image Credit: Twitter/@tomwarren)