Windows 11 users will get several new features in February ahead of the H2 feature update

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Credit: Microsoft

Over the past few months, Microsoft has included a notification on its Windows Insider blog posts that some new testing features in the Dev Channel may be rolling out independently of a new feature update. On January 26, Microsoft acknowledged that this will happen with a handful of new Windows 11 features being tested and won’t be held back until the only feature update comes in the second half of this year.

“Next month, we’ll be bringing new experiences to Windows that include a public preview of how you can use Android apps on Windows 11 through the Microsoft Store and our partnerships with Amazon and Intel, taskbar improvements with mute and unmute calls, easier window sharing and bringing the weather to the taskbar, as well as the introduction of two new redesigned apps, Notepad and Media Player,” said Panos Panay, Director of products for Windows + Devices in an article titled “A New Era of the PC”.

There is no information in the post about how these features will be provided. Will they be in a single cumulative update? Partially through the Microsoft Store? Rolled out via a Feature Experience Pack refresh? We have no idea.

Update: Microsoft released today, January 26, a preview of Android apps on Windows 11 for testers in the Release Preview channel.

Microsoft originally planned to bring the ability to run Android apps to Windows 11 in its original release on October 5, 2021, but the feature wasn’t ready in time. It has been in testing with Beta Channel Insiders since late October.

The wording of the Dev Channel Windows 11 blog posts currently states: “These builds also do not correspond to any specific version. New features and operating system improvements from these builds may appear in future versions of Windows as they become available. will be ready, and we can deliver them as full OS updates or maintenance releases.”

Last year, Microsoft officials said they were moving to an annual feature update schedule for Windows 11 and Windows 10 starting this year. Microsoft said Windows 11 and 10 feature updates will come in the second half of this calendar year. I hear October is the target at this point.

During the company’s second-quarter FY22 earnings call on Jan. 25, Microsoft officials said the company hit the milestone of 1.4 billion monthly active users for Windows 10 and 11. combined. Officials do not specify, at least for now, the number of PC users running Windows 11. Microsoft officials said Windows 10 had 1.3 billion monthly active users in April last year. .

In his blog post today, Panay said Windows 11 is beginning to enter its final phase of availability, putting Microsoft ahead of its original mid-2022 plan. I have requested more information on what this means exactly and will provide an update as soon as I have a response.

Will Microsoft continue to invite Windows 10 users on eligible devices to upgrade to Windows 11, and for how long? Stay tuned.

Update (January 28): A spokesperson provided the following: “Microsoft is beginning to offer the upgrade to the final group of eligible PCs. , Eligible Windows 10 PCs will continue to receive upgrade notifications. However, there is an option to ignore notifications.”

I had also asked if Microsoft planned to start charging for Windows 11 upgrades once the endgame was complete, but got no response. I also haven’t received a response to the question of whether Microsoft is expanding the pool of devices originally deemed eligible for Windows 11 as part of the endgame.

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