Microsoft Teases Next Generation of Windows 10 — What to Expect
CEO Satya Nadella has confirmed that Microsoft is working on the next generation of Windows, which features a new design language internally codenamed “Sun Valley” and is reportedly launching later this year.
During the Build 2021 developer conference, CEO Nadella explained that “Windows is implicit” and “it’s never been more important.” Nadella also highlighted the achievements of Windows and how developers are creating new experiences for 1.3 billion people to work, learn, connect and play.
“Windows brings together all developer and collaboration tools in one place. It lets you choose the hardware you want, works with Linux and Windows as one, and has a modern terminal. And soon we will share one of the most significant updates to Windows of the past decade to unlock greater economic opportunity for developers and creators,” Nadella said during Build 2021 conference.
Microsoft employees, including Nadella, have been self-hosting the preview build of the next generation of Windows that will be released to testers in June.
“We will create more opportunity for every Windows developer today and welcome every creator who is looking for the most innovative, new, open platform to build and distribute and monetize applications. We look forward to sharing more very soon.”
Sun Valley is a sweeping revamp of the visual interface.
Internal documents and job listing describe the Windows 10 feature upgrade as a “reinvigorating” and “sweeping” revamp of the visual interface.
This update is also known as ‘version 21H2,’ and it will improve the File Explorer, Start Menu, Action Center, Taskbar, and other important elements of the OS.
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With the Sun Valley update, Microsoft is planning to improve the legacy apps and settings and the modern features from Windows 8-era.
For example, Microsoft could update the existing File Explorer with additional improvements like dark mode support for the pop-up menus (properties tab). The company will not replace File Explorer with a modern version. Instead, the goal is to improve the existing Explorer with significant improvements.
On Github, Microsoft also confirmed that it’s exploring new design ideas for app buttons, elements, ListView, buttons, sliders, etc.
Likewise, Microsoft is also introducing Segoe UI Variable to include an optical axis so that font outlines can scale seamlessly from small to larger display sizes. The feature is called “Segoe UI Variable,” and Microsoft says it is a refreshed take on the classic Segoe.
It offers improved legibility at small sizes and much improved outlines at display sizes. Segoe UI Variable solves legibility issues on different form factors and resolutions by enabling support for a new feature that dynamically offer great legibility at very small sizes, and style at large sizes.
New animations, gestures
For the Sun Valley refresh, Microsoft is using WinUI, a new user interface layer that contains modern controls and styles.WinUI is not a replacement for Fluent Design, and it is supposed to improve the overall experience by enabling support for the same UI elements everywhere (legacy and modern).
Windows 10 Sun Valley update is built on top of the Fluent Design, which means Fluent Design is not going away.
Microsoft also plans to enable Windows 7-like rounded corners, transparent backgrounds, support for enhanced animations, motions, lighting, and more.
Cloud PC, Android apps streaming, and more
In addition to the Sun Valley update, Microsoft will also announce Cloud PC and streaming support for Android apps.
Microsoft is developing a new virtualized Windows PC experience called ‘Cloud PC’ that will allow business customers to run their personal desktop in the cloud and access it remotely using their devices.
Cloud PC is part of the company’s “Windows as a Service” tagline, and it won’t replace any existing services. Instead, it will be offered as a paid service for enterprise customers who want to access their Windows PC from anywhere at any time.
As mentioned, reports have suggested that Microsoft is creating an Android subsystem for Windows 10 based on the Windows Subsystem for Linux to enable native support for Android apps. Microsoft will launch a new developer tool to allow the distribution of Android apps via the Microsoft Store in the MSIX package.
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Windows 10 Sun Valley update is likely to hit the RTM (release to manufacture) status in June 2021, but the update won’t be released to the public until October.
Reports have suggested that Microsoft will be holding a new event, “What’s next for Windows,” in June to announce the “new Windows” or the next generation of Windows.
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