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Major Announcements From the Microsoft Windows 11 Event

Microsoft’s latest operating system has finally been revealed, just a bit after it leaked to the whole wide world. And not only has official news of the OS arrived but so has news of a whole host of other changes for the Windows ecosystem. Here are the major announcements from Microsoft’s Windows 11 event:

Windows 11

The biggest announcement of the event was Windows 11. Microsoft unveiled its next operating system, which has a new look and new features. Windows 11 is expected to start shipping to new PCs this fall. Microsoft plans for it to roll out as a free upgrade to Windows 10 users around the same time.

Windows 11 is probably Microsoft’s biggest announcement of the last few years. It brings together many of the projects that Microsoft has worked on over the years and folds them into a single operating system.

New Microsoft Store

Microsoft announced a new Microsoft Store as part of Windows 11, and with it, some big changes to how the Microsoft Store does business. Developers can now use their revenue streams. That means that developers can keep 100% of revenue driven from apps if they have their commerce platform.

In a surprise announcement, Microsoft explained that Windows 11 will support Android apps through the Amazon Store. These apps will be locally installed, so they’ll appear in the Taskbar and Start menu just like other apps.

Gaming

Windows 11 isn’t just for productivity. Microsoft outlined several ways that the OS is built for gamers. It features improvements such as DirectX 12 Ultimate, Direct Storage, and Auto HDR. the author allows games with SDR (standard dynamic range) to run with HDR improvements. As a result, games will be more colorful, have wider contrast and show more detail.

Direct Storage was first announced as part of the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, and it’s now on its way to Windows 11. Games built to work with Direct Storage will have significantly quicker load times on PCs with quick SSD storage.

DirectX 12 Ultimate includes features for developers such as Raytracing 1.1, variable-rate shading, Sampler Feedback, and more. It also allows developers to make games that require fewer PC resources.

Touch Screen Technology

Since the new OS will run on convertibles, 2-in-1s, and a variety of devices, Microsoft optimized Windows 11 for touch. When you detach a keyboard on a device like the Surface Pro 7, the device will adapt to the new form factor.

Taskbar icons will space out and touch targets will get larger. Presumably, this functionality will also appear when you flip a convertible around, though Microsoft didn’t show that off.

Windows 11 also has a new snapping experience. Snapping windows will help on desktops and laptops as well, but a few of its new abilities are aimed at devices with a touch. For example, windows can now stack on top of each other vertically, which fills the screen of a device with a 3:2 aspect ratio well.

Built-In Microsoft Teams

A new “Chat” app powered by Microsoft Teams for consumers will be the default in-box chat app, replacing Skype. As you’d expect from an app called “Chat,” it will allow you to quickly share texts, images, documents, and other content. You can also use it to start video calls directly from the Taskbar.

The top of the app has a “Meet Now” button that lets you invite anyone to a video call, even if they don’t have a Microsoft account. The Chat app also supports texting through SMS with Android phones and iPhones. While this app appears useful on its own, it’s also a big deal because it shows a shift from Skype to Microsoft Teams.

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