First big Windows 11 update coming — the new features

Microsoft has announced its first major update for Windows 11 will roll out next month.

In an official blog post on Wednesday, Windows chief product officer Panos Panay revealed the new features launching with the update.

The first significant addition is a public preview of built-in Android app support.

This feature allows users to install, run, and update Android apps through a component called the Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA).

Microsoft has been testing WSA in developer, beta, and preview versions of Windows 11 for several months.

Currently, running Android apps on the release versions of Windows requires an emulator.

But typical emulation can be resource-intensive and prone to bugs and glitches.

With WSA, the apps are running in a Hyper-V Virtual Machine that understands how to map their runtime and APIs, ensuring better performance and reliability.

Users install the apps through the Amazon Appstore, available as a stand-alone app from the Microsoft Store.

The update will also ship with new Notepad and Media Player apps, bringing new features and aligning them with the Windows Fluent design language.

The new Notepad app adds dark mode, a revamped find and replace functionality, and multi-level undo

The updated Media Player will replace the Groove Music app, with users’ libraries and playlists automatically migrated to the new experience.

Microsoft said that all supported content stored in your PC’s music and video folders would automatically appear in the library. Users can also instruct Media Player to find additional content in other locations.

The Media Player’s UI includes album art and rich artist imagery in full screen and mini-player modes.

Lastly, Microsoft has also promised several improvements to the taskbar.

That includes the ability to mute and unmute calls, easier window sharing, and the reintroduction of weather to the taskbar — a feature that many Insiders have asked Microsoft to bring back.

Panay did not share details on an exact release date. The update could therefore arrive any time during February.

Now read: Major WhatsApp update — new voice note and notifications features

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First big Windows 11 update coming — the new features