Windows 11 is official: here are the most significant new features

The new Windows has arrived! Several months after its formalization, Microsoft’s new operating system was made available to the general public on October 5, 2021.

Microsoft is turning a small page in its history. On October 5, 2021, Windows 11 takes over from Windows 10, released in 2015.

The new system brings aesthetic changes, new features and better integration of cloud gaming, among others. Here are the most interesting new features of the OS.

Snap Groups

In terms of productivity, there are several improvements. It is for example possible to store its windows more easily, thanks to predefined models called “Snap Group” which will allow several applications to be displayed side by side automatically. Just drag two or three windows side by side to create a “group” that will appear in the taskbar.

You can also create different desktops with specific customization options for each. A “professional” space with a neutral wallpaper and a “personal” space with a more cheerful image, for example.

An Xbox directly in Windows 11

Last June, during the presentation of its new OS, Microsoft had a good time talking to players, explaining to them that Windows 11 was “thought for them“. Concretely, the company has recycled many of the technologies present on Xbox, directly in Windows 11.

First, the Game Pass service arrived natively within Windows, making lots of games available, on subscription. It is also possible to play cloud gaming. You no longer need a war machine to play video games on your PC.

Some machines could also benefit from DirectStorage, a feature that allows games to be launched more quickly. Auto HDR, which automatically retouches the graphic aspect of a title, is also in the game. In short, Windows has borrowed heavily from Xbox technologies to enhance the PC gaming experience.

Some of its new features have actually been in testing in Windows for a few weeks, even a few months. With the arrival of Game Pass natively in Windows 11, we feel that Windows wants to focus on the game. Too bad it’s impossible to buy a good graphics card these days.

Widgets

Windows 11 may have abandoned interactive tiles, but the system is making a comeback for widgets. A panel on the left of the screen offers you the weather, news that may interest you, the results of major sporting events or the stock market.

The widget panel

Source: Microsoft

To access it, just click on the dedicated button in the taskbar. You can personalize it as you wish with your to-do list, your calendar or e-sports news.

Android apps on Windows 11

Obsessed with putting your entire digital life inside Windows, Microsoft decided to make it easier to use Android apps in Windows 11. Within the Microsoft Store, there will soon be a category just for Android apps. You can download and install these like any other software.

Windows will then take care of emulating the Android environment, to ensure that mobile applications blend elegantly into Windows 11. Behind the distribution of applications on the Windows Store, we actually find the Amazon App Store, the Android app store run by the e-commerce giant.

Unfortunately, the feature is not yet available within Windows 11. It is expected to arrive in early 2022.

The Microsoft Store becomes the nerve center of Windows

More tactical, the last major change made by Microsoft on Windows 11 concerns the Microsoft Store. Until then, Microsoft’s application store was a very anecdotal tool, where you could download an application easily if you didn’t want to look for it on the Internet. Now, Windows wants to make it the nerve center of its system.

The Microsoft store can accommodate all application formats within a single interface. Whether it’s Android applications that will arrive soon, web applications that are on the rise, or more traditional applications such as Chrome, Spotify or Dropbox, everyone can benefit from this new distribution channel. All without having to pay a commission to Microsoft.

Windows 11 is official: here are the most significant new features

The Windows Store wants to centralize all your applications

Source: Screenshot

Microsoft is therefore similar to what Apple does with its AppStore, or Linux with its software repositories. The tactic is interesting, because in addition to positioning its application store as the place where you will find all your favorite software, it allows you to centralize application updates and thus, perhaps, to keep a Windows more secure.

Ecosystem first

Most of the new features of Windows 11 are in fact only one but: to make Windows an ecosystem in which we easily find all its brands. Panos Panay, the head of Windows, has also said that he wants to make his OS your “home» digital. According to the maintainer, Windows must be “familiar, safe and connected“.

There is no question of upsetting the habits of its millions of users. Windows wants to simplify your life and be forgotten. This philosophy is consistent with the idea that the OS is now a “service” for Microsoft. That is to say an ecosystem that improves rather than once every 4-5 years.

The aesthetic overhaul of Windows is still a pleasure to see. Microsoft seems to want to give its OS a facelift, to make it the center of your digital life. When your name is Microsoft and you have a system that powers nearly 75% of consumer computers in the world, even small changes can have big consequences. We understand better why Windows is coming in small steps.

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