Bringing you closer to what you love with new experiences in Windows 11
As the PC continues to play a more meaningful role in our lives, we will continue to evolve Windows 11 as a connection point between people, ideas and creations. Today, we’re excited to announce new experiences for Windows 11 are starting to become available, including an Amazon Appstore preview available in the U.S., Taskbar improvements and two redesigned apps: Media Player and Notepad. We can’t wait to see what you do with them.
Enjoy the Amazon Appstore Preview featuring select Android™ apps and games in the Microsoft Store on Windows 11
Windows has always been about enabling you to work and play your way. And what makes Windows, well, Windows, is the variety of apps available to let you do just that. Since the launch of Windows 11, the Microsoft Store has attracted more creators and users around the world; today we are adding over 1,000 more apps and games in partnership with the Amazon Appstore. Windows 11 users in the U.S. can access the Amazon Appstore Preview1 in the Microsoft Store, and popular apps like Audible, Kindle, Subway Surfers, Lords Mobile, Khan Academy Kids and many more. This experience, built on the AndroidTM platform and supported by Intel® Bridge Technology, introduces a new category of mobile apps and games available for Windows.
To get started with the preview, open and update the Microsoft Store (click Get updates in Microsoft Store > Library) – search your favorite titles or explore our new curated collection of mobile apps and games; when you’ve found what you’re looking for, download them through the Amazon Appstore.1 These apps feel like a part of Windows, integrating naturally with Windows input and windowing experiences, like Snap layouts.
Today’s preview reinforces our commitment to be the most open platform for creators, and we look forward to sharing more details later this year on how we’ll broaden availability with the Amazon Appstore. We can’t wait to hear your feedback on the experience.
New enhancements to the Taskbar
The Taskbar is an ever-present launch point for everything we do on our PCs. That’s why we’re continuing to invest in experiences that make it easier to see all the information you need now and take action directly, no matter how many screens you’re working from. These new Taskbar enhancements are initially available in the February 2022 non-security preview release.
Mute/unmute & share any window from the Taskbar
In our hybrid world, the time spent connecting through video conferencing continues to rise. Phrases like “You’re on mute” or “Can you see my slides?” have become common things we say or hear throughout our day, and we want to help change that. Mute/unmute and share any window from the Taskbar are designed to make it easier for you to take quick actions and have confidence that you are at your best while on video calls. Instantly accessible from your Taskbar, window sharing and mute controls are available to Microsoft Teams users with a work or school account.
To try these out, during a call an active mic icon will appear on the right side of your Taskbar. You can easily toggle audio on and off without having to return to the call window so you can quickly reply or mute, even if your Teams app is not visible.
Additionally, window sharing for any open app is just two clicks away – simply hover over the app icon on your Taskbar to launch the share control, then confirm you’re ready to share it live. This will help you confidently share just the content you mean to share and nothing more.
Weather on the Taskbar
We’ve updated your entry point to Widgets to show live weather content in the left-hand corner of your Taskbar, so your weather is always up to date and available at a glance.
To try it out, simply hover over the weather icon; the Widgets board will open and stay open until you move your mouse away. To keep Widgets open, click the weather icon once, and it will stay open until you click somewhere outside of the Widgets board. If your Taskbar is currently left-aligned, this new entry point for Widgets will be to the right of the task view icon.
Clock on a second monitor
As more people are working, learning and connecting from home, many are working using multiple monitors and want access to the same information across their screens. We listened to feedback and are now bringing the date and time to your second monitor. When a secondary monitor is connected, your clock and date will now be shown on the Taskbar of the secondary monitor or monitors for glanceability as you work or play.
Introducing two redesigned apps: Media Player and Notepad
The PC has become the entertainment hub for many people – their go-to place to create and view content. The newly redesigned Media Player app was created to make listening to and watching your multimedia content more enjoyable.
At the heart of Media Player is a full-featured music library that allows you to quickly browse and play music, as well as create and manage playlists. All your content in the music and video folders on your PC will appear automatically in your library, and you can also tell Media Player where to look for additional content in app settings. Media Player is optimized for accessibility, with improved keyboard shortcuts and access keys for keyboard users as well as with other assistive technologies. Media Player replaces the Groove Music app; if your music collection is in Groove Music today, your library and playlists will migrate automatically.
Like physical notepads around your house, the Notepad app is designed to be a simple companion for all your basic notetaking needs. The redesigned user interface feels both fresh, with new design features from Windows 11, and familiar, with the hallmark simplicity and ease of use Notepad is known for. In addition to design updates, we added dark mode, so the app feels more cohesive with your Windows experience. If your default system theme is Dark Mode, Notepad will automatically adopt the dark theme, or you can also select the app theme manually from the new settings page. Menus have also been simplified to make it easier to find the actions you want to take in the app, and we’ve added new highly requested features like multi-level undo, colorful emojis, and a modern and efficient find-and-replace experience. To get the redesigned Media Player and Notepad apps, visit the Microsoft Store.
Windows innovation investments going forward
Windows 11 is designed to bring you closer to what you love, and these new experiences continue to make it easier for you to work, play, create and connect, no matter where you are or how many screens you have. As today’s release shows, we’re committed to delivering experiences into Windows 11 that enrich and inspire people’s lives. Over time, you’ll see us release new features into Windows 11 for end users more frequently in addition to our annual update. We will leverage the variety of update mechanisms we have in place including servicing and Microsoft Store updates. Our goal is to deliver continuous innovation, providing you with the best experiences year-round.
We will continue to listen to your feedback and bring new experiences to life on Windows 11. As we shared earlier this month, we’ll leverage the incredible community of Windows Insiders to incubate new ideas and put more emphasis on trying out different concepts with our features and services. The year ahead is an exciting one for Windows and Microsoft as we enter a new era for the PC. Looking forward, we will continue to focus on empowering people and organizations to navigate hybrid work and life, make Windows the best open platform for the world’s innovation, invest in Windows as a force in more inclusive and equitable experiences, continue to focus on security, make Windows the best place for gaming and a gateway to the metaverse, and support broader company efforts around sustainability. We can’t wait to share more with you over time.
1 Hardware dependent: See Windows 11 Specs and System Requirements | Microsoft.
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Editor’s note – Feb. 23, 2022 – The video above about the Amazon Appstore was updated post-publication.
Editor’s note – Feb. 17, 2022 – The “Share any window” video was updated post-publication.