After a long period of speculation and testing, Windows 11 finally got released in October 2021, and it’s looking awesome so far. With big UI changes as well as underlying revamps to the way Windows works, you could argue it’s way more than just the “Windows 10 reskin” some people were expecting.
And just like Windows 10, this new operating system will have frequent major updates adding new features or improving existing ones. The time is nearing for the first of such updates—and there’s a lot of speculation making the rounds online about what will it bring. So what should we expect out of this upcoming update?
Android Apps are Finally Coming
Microsoft details all the upcoming changes on the Windows Experience blog, and one of the biggest changes in this upcoming major update is support for Android apps. After Windows 11 was announced, one of the most hyped features was the fact that Android apps would be natively supported via a “Windows Subsystem for Android,” similar to the Linux subsystem currently used to run Linux apps on Windows.
However, despite the fact that the feature was announced before the operating system’s final release, it was nowhere to be seen at launch. Instead, as the final release of Windows 11 approached, Microsoft said that Android apps will be tested through the Windows Insider beta program “over the coming months.”
Luckily, those who really want to try it out have been able to do so for months, as the feature did indeed launch in the beta program shortly after the final Windows 11 release.
Now, it’s all set to launch on the stable branch as soon as the first major update is out. Microsoft confirmed in a news piece that Windows 11 users all around the world will be able to finally get a taste of Android apps. You’ve been able to use Windows apps through emulators like BlueStacks, but this pretty much eliminates the need to do so for the most part.
Two More Redesigned Apps
As exciting as they are, Android apps are not the only thing coming in that update. As per Microsoft’s blog post, this future update might also come with a new lick of paint for two apps—Notepad and the Windows Media Player.
Windows 11 has already added thorough redesigns of a lot of apps, including even older ones like Microsoft Paint and File Explorer, so it’s just a matter of time until every little thing gets revamped.
Until now, the Notepad app has looked largely the same since 1985, when Windows 1.0 was first launched. There have been some changes, naturally, but the way the app looks hasn’t deviated much besides the usual Windows UI changes.
However, a refreshed Notepad is coming in this future Windows 11 update, with bigger buttons, more easily accessible settings, and of course, a UI that looks just like everything around it. The core functionality is not changing, but the looks department is. (Oh, and it’s also getting a dark mode; how cool is that?)
The Windows Media Player is also getting a revamp. The Media Player’s functionality has been broken apart into several apps with the passing of time, like Groove Music and a Movies & TV app, but Windows 11 will see a revival of the Media Player.
Right now, it has a Windows Vista-era UI with strong late 2000s vibes and features at the forefront that don’t really matter much for this decade, like the ability to burn CDs. The new Media Player has a revamped UI and streamlined functionality that should do wonders to improve your local media consumption experience on Windows 11.
When Will the Windows 11 Update Release?
Microsoft says that all of these changes and renewed experiences will be released next month, in February 2022. January is already closing, so it’s good to see it won’t be much longer. This should be the first of many more major updates to come to Windows 11, and we’re really excited about it.
In With the Old, and In With the New
With the new Windows 11 update on the horizon, it appears to feature the best of both worlds. Not only will we get the shiny new Android emulator natively built into Windows for the first time, but we’ll also see makeovers for two of the old guard apps that have stuck around for decades now.
Now it’s just a case of waiting to see how the update shapes out.
Microsoft claims to have improved with Windows 11. Has the experience improved for developers too? Let’s find out.
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