Microsoft to roll out Android apps preview for Windows 11 next month along with Taskbar improvements, new Media Player and Notepad apps
Windows 11 is set to bring some improvements to the user experience such as the Taskbar, a new Media Player and a Notepad app next month. The company is also set to roll out Android apps for Windows 11 as a public preview.
If you can recall, the Redmond company announced that it had partnered with Amazon to bring the latter's App Store to Windows PCs, allowing users to access mobile apps and games on their desktop.
Image courtesy: Microsoft
It is obvious why Windows 11 was rushed out the door, to drive the sales of new computers, laptops, which shipped with the new operating system during the holiday season. The problem however was that the OS wasn't very well optimized at launch, and Microsoft had to focus on fixing the issues. This meant pushing some features to a later date, including support for Android apps. A month or so later, the Windows Subsystem on Android (WSA) debuted as a limited beta for users in the US. Some users found a way to get it to work on the stable channel of the OS, and we have a guide that shows you how to install Android apps on Windows 11.
Android apps preview for Windows 11
While Microsoft delayed support for the feature, Google reacted to it quickly, and announced its own way to use Android apps on Windows 10 and 11. The search giant is prepping its iteration, called Google Play Games for PC, and is currently available in a limited beta for users in Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan.
It almost feels like a race at this point to who gets Android apps on Windows first, so it's not really surprised that Microsoft wants to push the feature to users soon. That said, it won't be available to the stable channel just yet, a blog post by Panos Panay, CPO of Windows Devices, states that the feature will be released as a public preview next month.
Upcoming features in Windows 11
If you are a regular reader, you may be aware that we have written about these features, having tested them when they were introduced in the Windows Insider Preview builds. Here's a rundown of what you can expect from them.
Windows 11 will allow you to adjust the volume by scrolling the mouse wheel over the Taskbar's volume icon. It also brings a new button that will appear when specific apps are running such as Teams, clicking on which will mute and unmute the microphone. In order to help users collaborate with their contacts during video calls, Windows 11 lets them share their open program windows directly from the Taskbar. The Widgets button in Windows 11 will be moved to the left edge instead of its central location, and it will display the weather information, such as the current temperature, directly on the Taskbar.
While these maybe impressive additions, the Windows 11 Taskbar menu experience is nowhere close to what its predecessor offered. Drag and drop support for the Taskbar is another feature that has been requested by many users, though it could arrive in the future.
New Notepad and Media Player apps
Microsoft is set to replace the Notepad app with a new one that has a slightly refreshed design. It retains the features from the previous version, but also adds a couple of new options such as a Dark theme, and multi-level undo.
The Media Player app which replaces Groove Music has a fluent design, that adheres to the Windows 11 standard. The legacy Media Player will continue to be available for users. The new version is perfectly capable of playing videos, music tracks, and also lets you play streaming media. It may not offer the more advanced options that you may be used to in VLC, PotPlayer, MPC, MPV, etc., but the new Media Player maybe sufficient for the average user.
If you can't wait to try it, here's a guide on how to install the new Media Player in Windows 11 right now.
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