Microsoft on Thursday unveiled a new version of its Windows operating system, which powers most of the world’s computers, and opened the door to Google’s Android operating system apps. The US tech giant has announced that Windows 11 will be available around Christmas as a free upgrade to its predecessor.
“Today is an important milestone in the history of Windows,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a virtual presentation that aired this afternoon. “It’s the beginning of a new generation of computing, we’re rebuilding everything.”
Windows 11 features Microsoft has highlighted include bringing Android apps to Windows for the first time, allowing PC users to get them through the Amazon App Store. However, the selection is limited to Android apps provided by Amazon, which means that some of the most popular apps will not be available.
Microsoft chief product Panos Panay demonstrated the change with the TikTok app, which he says is one of his favorite apps. “Imagine recording and posting a TikTok video or using Khan Academy Kids for virtual learning right on your personal computer,” he explained.
Microsoft has revamped its Windows Store to make it more attractive, and made sure that developers would be able to use their own commercial platforms to avoid paying any commissions to the tech giant. The change comes at a time when Apple is under fire for the sharing it gets from transactions made in the App Store, the only gateway to content on its iPhones and other devices.
In addition to simplifying the design of Windows, in an effort to make the user interface cleaner and faster, Microsoft has further integrated it into the Xbox cloud gaming service. Windows 11 is designed to increase video game consumption, and improve graphics, according to this afternoon’s presentation.
The operating system also continues Microsoft’s trend of opening its computers to devices developed by competing technology competitors while generating revenue from services or software hosted in the cloud.
Members of the Windows 11 test program will receive and send feedback about the operating system to Microsoft in the coming months, prior to general distribution of the new version of the operating system.
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