First major Windows 11 update brings improved apps, taskbar changes

The first big Windows 11 update is now rolling out to users with several new features, including Android apps (in preview), new Notepad and Media Player apps, and more.

As reported by The Verge, the Android apps public preview is available in the U.S. – bad news for any Canadian Windows 11 users eager to start installing Android apps on their PC. The preview will allow users to install apps from Amazon’s Appstore, which is far more limited than the Google Play Store. However, there are unofficial ways to get the Play Store up and running for those who want to.

Next, Microsoft’s redesigned Media Player and Notepad apps arrive with this update. We’ve covered the Media Player changes before (check that out here). As for Notepad, the updated app now supports multi-step undo, has an improved search interface, and supports dark mode.

The Verge highlighted several improvements coming to the taskbar. The Windows 11 taskbar has been a sore point for many since it dropped several basic (yet arguably integral) features for a frankly modest design update.

Taskbar improvements include making the time and date available on multiple monitors, a return of the weather widget, and a new mute/unmute feature available for Microsoft Teams calls. Teams will also get a new, integrated button to share specific apps or windows directly from the taskbar.

For all the improvements, other basic features are still missing. For one, the ability to pin the taskbar to the left, right, or top of your display (a particular sour point for me). Hopefully, future updates will restore these features.

Speaking of future updates, it’s worth noting that Microsoft moved both Windows 11 and 10 to an annual update cycle, but this first big Windows 11 update won’t be the last one for the year. And, despite the change to the update cycle, Microsoft plans to add new features to Windows 11 more frequently.

On the surface, it sounds confusing – an annual update schedule with more frequent feature updates seems counterintuitive – but I understand it to be more like Google’s Pixel Feature Drops. In other words, one big annual update (like Android 12 or 13, but for Windows) and smaller updates with new features dropping regularly.

Still, given how often Windows updates seem to break things, I’m curious to see if this new approach to updates works out or causes Microsoft more problems in the long run.

Source: The Verge

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