After being teased around and appearing in beta builds for months, Android apps are finally coming as a public preview, along with taskbar enhancements and a refresh of the Notepad and Media Player apps in Windows 11’s first big update since launch coming next month.
The major thing here is the public preview of Android apps. The feature has been available in preview builds for testers since October and allows users to install a limited number of apps from the Amazon Appstore. While users can install Google Play Store manually by sideloading the APK file, Microsoft isn’t officially supporting Android’s native app store.
The Taskbar enhancements include a mute and unmute button and the ability to show the time on secondary monitors, something we touched on in our Windows 11 upgrade video. Functionality like drag and drop is still in the works, though.
Another feature coming to the taskbar is the weather widget. The taskbar is also better integrated with Microsoft Teams now, allowing users to share a window by just hovering over said window’s icon in the taskbar.
The Notepad and Media Player apps are also getting a visual overhaul, including a dark mode and design changes to make them consistent with Windows 11’s overall design language.
The taskbar was supposed to be a big deal in this version of Windows. It is, after all, the centrepiece of everything that happens on the OS and seeing crucial features (including the ability to reposition the taskbar) missing was a deal-breaker for many.
The announcement for the upcoming release also featured some stats that Microsoft claims helped drive the update. The upgrade offer to Windows 11 is beginning to enter its final phase of availability, putting the company ahead of its initial mid-2022 plan. Microsoft claims users are spending over 40% more time on their Windows 11 PCs as compared to Windows 10. The redesigned Microsoft Store is also getting three times the traffic it used to get previously.
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