Will Windows 11 be a free update?
Microsoft has today confirmed that the new Windows 11 operating system will be available as a free upgrade for existing, licensed Windows 10 users. That means if you have an activated version of Microsoft's current OS de jour, and a PC that can handle it, you're already in line to get your hands on the new version. PC GamerMicrosoft confirms Windows 11 will be a free update for licensed Windows 10 users
Will Windows 10 users get Windows 11?
You'll be able to upgrade to Windows 11 for free if you're already a Windows 10 user. Windows 11 will be free to download for Windows 10 users. ... So long as your PC meets the minimum requirements, you'll be able to update to Windows 11 the same way you usually update to new versions of Windows 10. CNETWindows 11 will be free to download for existing Windows 10 users
When will Windows 11 roll out?
Upgrades to Windows 11 will begin to roll out late in 2021 and continue into 2022. During this time, we will be doing some behind-the-scenes testing and validating for your specific PC. Windows Update will provide an indication if and when your PC is eligible. You can check by going to Settings/Windows Update. microsoft.comUpgrade to the New Windows 11 OS
That’s a massive departure from the policies Apple and Google have in place that require app developers who use their stores to pay 30% fees on the sale of apps and in-app purchases.
“Windows has always stood for sovereignty for creators and agency for consumers,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said. “A platform can only serve society if its rules allow for this foundational innovation and category creation. It’s why we’re introducing new store commerce models and policies.”
The move is certain to rankle executives at both Apple and Google, which are facing antitrust investigations into their app store practices.
Apple is awaiting a ruling in an antitrust case brought by Epic Games, in which the “Fortnite” developer accused the iPhone maker of abusing its market power over the App Store by forcing developers to use its own payment system and fork over the associated fees.
Google, meanwhile, faces a similar lawsuit from Epic and is expected to get slapped with a lawsuit from a collection of state attorneys general for its app store policies.
This isn’t the first time Microsoft has called out its rivals and their app stores. The company has criticized Apple’s policies in the past, specifically Apple’s policy of taking a share of revenue from Microsoft apps purchased through the Apple App Store.
More recently, Microsoft sparred with Apple over its desire to get its xCloud cloud gaming platform onto the iPhone via a native app. Apple has pushed back, hampering Microsoft’s cloud gaming ambitions and forcing it to make users rely on a browser-style app.
That led Microsoft to meet and lodge a complaint with members of the House Antitrust Subcommittee during the body’s investigation into Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook.
Microsoft also took aim at Apple in the iPhone maker’s battle with “Fortnite” developer Epic Games. In that instance, Microsoft filed a statement of support for Epic in its fight to prevent Apple withholding iOS support for Epic’s Unreal Engine.
Epic initially sued Apple and Google after the two companies removed “Fornite” from their respective app stores. Apple and Google argue that Epic implemented an update that added a separate payment system allowing consumers to circumvent Apple or Google’s payment services. That effectively cut out Apple and Google’s 30% app store fees.
Epic’s fight with Apple wrapped up earlier this month and a ruling is expected before the end of the summer.
With its decision to allow developers to use their own payment systems, Microsoft is sending a signal to the global developer community that it is willing to play by their rules. That could help the company as it seeks to build out its app store and drive more business for Windows.
While Microsoft was caught flat-footed in the smartphone wars, its moves with the Windows 11 Microsoft Store could give it the kind of boost from developers that it needs to begin taking market share from Apple and Google in the fight for app store supremacy. It’s now up to Apple and Google to respond.
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Microsoft's Windows 11 brings big changes to the world's most popular desktop operating system.
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Windows 11 will be a free upgrade, coming to users with a release date of ‘this holiday season’
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24 June, 2021 - 04:00pm
As “one small surprise,” Microsoft revealed today that Android apps are coming to Windows 11. This is being done through an integration with the Amazon Appstore.
Android apps will be integrated into Windows 11, including the revamped Start menu, taskbar, and have the ability to take advantage of windowing defaults. Under-the-hood, Intel Bridge technology is leveraged for a “seamless” and “smooth” experience.
They will be discoverable through the Microsoft Store via the Amazon Appstore. Microsoft advertises it as “Your favorite mobile apps now on Windows” with the experience primarily handled through the Microsoft Store, which already has Progressive Web Apps and two forms of native Windows applications.
This includes a listing that labels an experience from Android as a “Mobile App,” while everything from (phone) screenshots to descriptions and ratings/reviews are filled out. That said, the traditional buy/install button says “Get from Amazon Appstore” with an icon that traditionally implies a link out to someplace else. It looks like Amazon will have a sub-app store experience.
While the Amazon Appstore, which powers the third-party experience on Android-forked Fire tablets, is likely one of the larger Android app stores out there, it does not have all the offerings that people would expect. For starters, Google apps that end users primarily interact with on their phones are not available. Meanwhile, existing paid purchases or IAPs will not transfer over. There might be a big expectation gap as a result. That said, TikTok is available and got an on-stage shout-out from Windows chief Panos Panay.
Android apps on Windows 11 comes as Microsoft’s operating system veers very close to Chrome OS both visually and functionality-wise. That new OS will be available this fall as a free upgrade from Windows 10.
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24 June, 2021 - 04:00pm
A surprise addition to Windows 11
Microsoft says it’s using Amazon’s Appstore to bring Android apps to Windows 11. Apps will be listed in the new Windows store, and Microsoft is also partnering with Intel to use its Intel Bridge technology to make this a reality. Android apps on Windows 11 can be pinned to the taskbar or snapped alongside traditional Windows apps.
Microsoft demonstrated apps like TikTok running on Windows 11 today. The Windows store that Microsoft showed lists Ring, Yahoo, Uber, and others, so we’ll likely see full access to Amazon’s Appstore. It’s not immediately clear how many existing devices will support Android apps with Windows 11, as hardware will need to support Intel Bridge technology.
Microsoft has been toying with the idea of running Android apps on Windows natively for years, and the company had been experimenting with the idea of listing Android apps in the Windows store just ahead of the Windows 10 launch. Instead, Microsoft pushed ahead trying to convince developers to adopt its failed Universal Windows Platform.
Android app integration directly into Windows is a significant shift, especially as the company has been favoring Your Phone as the method to bridge the gap between Android and Windows. Microsoft has been embracing Android as the mobile version of Windows for years, and now those same mobile apps will run directly in Windows 11.
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24 June, 2021 - 04:00pm
Microsoft unveiled Windows 11 during a live-streamed event on Thursday.
Microsoft revealed Windows 11 during an online event on Thursday. The announcement comes almost six years after the introduction of Windows 10, which is the world's most widely used PC operating system, with over 1.3 billion devices using it.
Windows, which represents over 10% of Microsoft's revenue even as the company has grown by selling cloud services, became more critical during the pandemic as people stayed home and spent more time with Windows 10 for school, work and gaming. Microsoft reported higher Windows revenue from consumer PCs — but Apple's Mac revenue also rose, and shipments of PCs running Google's Chrome OS skyrocketed.
Microsoft executive Panos Panay drew a contrast on Thursday with other app stores during the Windows 11 launch. On the Windows Store, he said, developers can use Microsoft's payment processor ("commerce engine"), which takes a 12% fee from purchases. Or, he said, developers can use their own payment processor and keep 100% of purchases.
This is clearly a shot at Apple and to a lesser extent Google, which run the Apple App Store and Google Play Store for mobile software, which take a 15% to 30% fee from purchase. Game stores on Windows, like Steam, also take similar fees.
Microsoft rival Apple, in particular, faces a fair amount of developer and regulatory scrutiny over its fee. Microsoft also announced a way to install Android apps on Windows PCs through Amazon's Appstore platform.
"Today this world needs a more open platform," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said, suggesting that big apps on Windows can become platforms of their own, another shot at Apple. — Kif Leswing
Microsoft said Windows 11 will support Android apps through Amazon's app store. That means popular apps that people already use on phones will be available right on the desktop, in the Start menu and more.
But, notably, the Amazon App Store doesn't offer Google's popular Android apps like Gmail, Maps and other Google services. And according to Joanna Stern at the Wall Street Journal, you'll need to first sign in to your Amazon account to download those apps.
Still, it could be huge for Microsoft's ARM-based Windows efforts, since those apps are already designed to work on mobile processors.
Notably, this is similar to how Apple's Macs that run on its new M1 chip support iPhone and iPad apps. It shows how mobile apps, which people use all day long on their phones, are jumping to our desktop computers across both major platforms, Windows 11 and macOS.
Microsoft is bringing some features from its Xbox consoles to Windows 11.
Windows 11 will include automatic HDR, which adjusts the lighting and color in a game to make the images more vivid. It needs supported games and the right equipment.
Microsoft also announced direct storage, which allows large game worlds to be loaded quickly using speedy hard drives.
The company is also promoting Xbox Game Pass, the company's game subscription that gives access to a lot of different titles for a monthly fee, especially Microsoft-owned titles like those from Bethesda.
These features was previously available for the latest version of Xbox consoles.
"If you're a gamer, Windows 11 was made for you," Panay said. — Kif Leswing
Microsoft Teams, the company's videoconferencing and chat software, is getting a big update to make it more like a systemwide messaging app.
During the presentation, Microsoft revealed an interface that puts chats in standalone windows. Frequent contacts appear as a pop-up on the start bar. It's also getting more videoconferencing features and appears easier to jump right into a video call like you would using FaceTime or Messages on a Mac.
Teams has 145 million daily active users, Microsoft said in April. — Kif Leswing
Panos Panay, Microsoft's chief product officer, described the new operating system as "the Windows that brings you closer to the things you love."
There are rounded corners, new desktop wallpaper and a centered Start menu featuring applications and files recently used across a variety of devices, along with a search box. The Windows icon has also been spruced up to be a simple square with four equal-sized panes.
"Today marks a major milestone in the history of Windows," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said. "It's the beginning of a new generation."
There's also Windows Widgets, a repackaging of a feature containing news, weather and other information that was introduced to people testing Windows 10 builds in the past few months. The Widgets feature uses artificial intelligence to offer personalized content, and it can be shown on the entirety of the screen with a swipe from left to right.
Windows 11 will include "snap layouts" that make it easy to move application windows into preset configurations. A new "snap groups" feature in the task bar is a group of the apps people were previously using. And when Windows 11 users reconnect additional monitors to their PCs, the operating system will remember which apps were being used before.
Microsoft is incorporating its Teams productivity app directly into Windows, Panay said. The addition comes months after Microsoft adding a way for people to quickly start video calls in Windows through its Skype app.
For people who are using the operating system without a keyboard — like on a Surface touchscreen PC — the company is making it easier to adjust the size of app windows. For those using a stylus, the company is incorporating haptic feedback. The virtual keyboard that shows up onscreen has also been redesigned.
Microsoft also revealed a revamped app store, which Panay described as "the safest and most secure way for you to get your apps on Windows." The app will make room for more traditional Win32 applications, along with Progressive Web Apps and Universal Windows Platform apps, and developers can use their own commerce systems. Apps can be in the store without Microsoft taking a share of revenue from sales of applications.
Plus, Android apps are coming to Windows, by way of the Amazon Appstore, and can be accessed from the task bar, Panay said. That builds on efforts through the Your Phone app to let owners of certain Samsung Android devices run their Android apps on Windows.
The operating system will deliver more performance in browsing the internet in Microsoft's Edge browser, which will enable longer battery life. Updates will be 40% smaller, Panay said.
And there will be fewer updates: one per year, instead of two per year with Windows 10.
Panay told viewers of the livestream to buy "Windows 11-ready" PCs, which will become available later this year. Computers must meet new hardware requirements in order to run the new operating system. For one thing, Microsoft said, "Windows 11 Home edition requires an Internet connection and a Microsoft Account to complete device setup on first use."
The PC Health Check app from Microsoft can show Windows 10 users if their PCs are eligible to upgrade to Windows 11, free of charge. The upgrade will start to become available through the Windows Update section of the Settings app this holiday season and continue through 2022. People who want to try an early version of Windows 11 can access it starting next week through the Windows Insider Program.
Microsoft's livestream on its website is having issues. It cut out for CNBC reporters during executive Panos Panay's introduction to Windows 11, in which he compared the operating system to a safe home. Other people on social media are also reporting issues. — Kif Leswing
We're about to get a peek at what's coming next to Windows. There may not be many surprises, thanks to a leak last week of what appeared to be an early build of an operating system called Windows 11.
Last week, some media outlets reported on a leaked build of an operating system called Windows 11. The release showed rounded corners for application windows, refreshed animations and a Start menu located in the center at the bottom of the screen, among other changes.
The leaked build didn't include an updated version of Microsoft's built-in Windows app store. The overhaul to the Store app will probably arrive alongside the Windows refresh, Windows Central said in April. Thursday's event is a logical time for Microsoft to go over that.
Microsoft declined to comment on the build's authenticity. But we'll know more about what the software looks like after the event begins at 11 a.m. ET.
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