They said it wouldn’t happen, yet here we are. Exciting new development coming from Microsoft for 2021. We have a breakdown of the Windows 11 update and some information you might find useful about the new Windows OS release.
Is Windows 11 Free?
Yes, Windows 11 is coming later in the year (date TBC) as a free upgrade from Windows 10. However, Microsoft has released some system requirements which means not all Windows devices will be fully supported by the new operating system. The requirements are reasonably high; it is reported you will need an 8th Gen Intel core processors with 1.0Ghz speeds minimum. Or Intel Pentium and Celeron processors from the Apollo Lake generation and newer. There will also be support for AMD CPU’s, from Ryzen 2000 and newer. So, before you celebrate too early, check your CPU specifications to see if you will be eligible for the new OS. It has been stated though that while those are the recommended requirements, you will most likely still be able to download the new Windows 11 OS. It just won’t be fully supported and you may get a message to say the upgrade is not recommended, but will still function. We would follow Microsoft’s recommendations in this case however, as it’s unclear if your device will struggle when using the operating system and you don’t want to risk overworking your CPU.
Windows 11 OS – New Features
One feature that we are sure all office staff are going to appreciate is the new Snap Layout feature. While you have always been able to “snap” your windows to fit to certain parts of your screen, Windows 11 has dived deeper into this functionality to make it more efficient. When you maximize your window, you will have the option to snap the layout to a preferred location on your screen. This gives you the option to view multiple floating windows and seamlessly move between them all.
Widgets and Customization
Another boost to Windows repertoire is the increased ability to customize your desktop menu. Through widgets, you can add and edit your home menu as much as you like. You can therefore prioritise the apps you use most and easily find news or information relevant to you.
As you can see from the image above, Microsoft has tried to simplify its desktop menu giving users the quickest possible access to their apps. The toolbar is in the center of the screen rather than the usual left-hand side in an aim to make the user experience better. The new layout and customization definitely has a focus on user experience, so some of the confusion and difficulties you may have had with using Windows 10 may be resolved here.
Windows 11 Microsoft Store and Android Apps
Yes, you read that headline correctly. Microsoft is introducing a new Microsoft Store, providing one central trustworthy platform for all your applications and programs. However, perhaps the biggest bombshell of Windows 11 is the introduction of Android apps for the very first time in Windows OS history.
Interestingly, for this endeavour Microsoft is teaming up with Intel and Amazon to provide a bridge between Windows 11 and Android apps. Users will be able to download the Android applications from the Amazon Appstore. Intel’s Bridge Technology will provide the software to allow for the apps native to Android to be used on your Windows laptop or PC. Amazon seemingly knows no bounds, having worked up a new partnership with both Intel and Microsoft for an integrated approach for all users.
Through the power of the cloud, Microsoft is introducing renewed connectivity allowing your Microsoft 365 to be connected across multiple platforms. This means whether you are using Windows, Android or iOS you can pick up where you left off, with Windows 11 showing your recent files so you can continue your work regardless of the device you are using. The new OS also has Teams integrated into the task bar. This makes for contacting friends, relatives or colleagues as easy as possible. Microsoft has recognised the importance of staying connected through voice or video calling. That’s why Teams is being pushed and made more accessible than ever.
Gaming on Windows 11
For all the gamers out there, you may want to hear about what Windows 11 can bring for gaming. While your hardware plays the most important part to your gaming experience, Windows 11 is set to bring unique features that will improve your Windows based gaming. You will get improved graphics through the auto HDR capability of the new OS. Windows 11 will automatically add High Dynamic Rang (HDR) enhancements to your games built on the DirectX 11 software or higher. This means you will get better colours and brightness so your gaming experience will look better than what it would be normally on Windows 10. Of course, it still heavily depends on your graphics card. You will also benefit from Microsoft’s DirectStorage which is exclusive to Windows 11, built in a similar way to what the new Xbox models have. It delivers faster loading times for your games, so you can inherently start up your gaming library faster. With DirectStoage being optimized for Windows 11 only, you are going to want to experience it by upgrading. With faster loading and Windows continued capabilities to support a huge range of peripherals, including Xbox controllers, Windows continues to be the no. 1 in PC gaming.
Whats more, is that users will be able to benefit from Microsoft’s continued roll out of Game Pass. Xbox Game Pass for PC allows users of Windows laptops to play Xbox/PC titles on their devices. This includes many EA and Bethseda titles, as Xbox updates and adds more games to the Game Pass family. The Xbox app will be built into Windows 11 meaning that every user has easy access to this feature. What’s more, Microsoft plans on rolling out cloud gaming through the Xbox Game Pass and Xbox app platforms. This is part of Microsoft’s bid to make gaming accessible to all. Users of cloud gaming have no need to buy extra hardware such as games consoles or gaming PC’s. You won’t need to pay to upgrade your current set up. You simply need a subscription and controller and you will be able to stream games directly onto your PC or monitor/TV through the Xbox app. There is still some time to go for the full release of cloud gaming, but it is very much on the horizon. This could change the gaming space as there will be no need for physical consoles or PC’s anymore. Of course, there is a lot of kinks to work out and the idea is great but heavily relies upon a high speed, reliable internet connection. So, while it is definitely a great innovation, it still is not a substitute for hardware just yet.
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We hope you found the information around Windows 11 useful. The full launch has not happened yet so stay tuned to our socials and keep following the Windows 11 updates online. When the version is out fully there will be much more info available, and we plan on diving deeper with some more feedback or videos on the subject.
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