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HomeMobileMicrosoft Build 2022 highlights: new Windows 11 features, Project Volterra, and more

Microsoft Build 2022 highlights: new Windows 11 features, Project Volterra, and more


Microsoft Build 2022 Source: Microsoft

Microsoft hosted its Build 2022 developer conference yesterday, where it announced a whole load of new features that are coming to Windows 11 later this year. In addition to new features for Windows 11, the company also unveiled Project Volterra, a Windows 11 ARM-powered Mini PC, and a few features for its first-party apps, such as Microsoft Teams and OneNote. Here’s everything you need to know.

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Widgets in Windows 11 Source: Microsoft

One of the key highlights of Windows 11 was the widgets panel. The company introduced some first-party widgets with Windows 11. Some were developed from the ground up (for example, the widgets for its Outlook and To Do apps), but the rest are mostly web-powered (news, entertainment, weather, etc.). Nonetheless, almost all the widgets available in the widgets panel have been exclusive to Microsoft’s own apps and services.

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This is changing as Microsoft has announced that it will open up widgets to third-party app developers later this year. Microsoft says that the developers will be able to make widgets as a companion to their win32 or PWA apps. Third-party widgets will be based on Microsoft’s Adaptive Cards platform. This will allow the widgets to use a flexible canvas, all while allowing the developers to create interactive widgets with texts, graphics, and buttons. The company still hasn’t detailed everything about the new feature but says that developers will be able to build new experiences “later this year.”

During the keynote, Kevin Gallo, head of the developer platform at Microsoft, also said that the company is “exploring other places where widgets could appear in Windows.” Although Microsoft did not explicitly tell us what these “other places” could be, rumors suggest that the company could be looking to bring widgets to the desktop. Hopefully, we’ll get to know more about this soon.

Huge update for Windows 11 Subsystem for Android

Windows 11 New Microsoft Store Source: Microsoft

Microsoft introduced support for Android apps with Windows 11. In Windows 11, you can directly install Android apps on your computer and start them with just a click. How this works is that Windows keeps a lightweight version of Android OS in the background. At Build 2022, the company announced some huge updates for the Windows Subsystem for Android.

Microsoft announced that it would be expanding the availability of Android apps on Windows 11 to more regions. Now, in addition to the United States, you will be able to download Android apps via the Amazon Appstore in five more regions, namely the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Japan.

The company also announced that it would be upgrading the Subsystem version to Android 12.1 — yes, your Windows PC could be running a newer version of Android than your smartphone. Bringing some Android 12 features to the board, Microsoft says that Windows will now notify the user when an Android app is using the microphone, location, or any other system services. The company says it is also working to improve mouse and keyboard support for Android apps on Windows. Lastly, the company adds that Android apps will now be able to connect to devices on the same network as your Windows PC, including devices or security cameras.

App restore and new features for Microsoft Store

Windows 11 App Restore Source: Microsoft

Talking more about the apps, Microsoft executive Giorgio Sardo said that the company would soon allow users to restore apps from the Microsoft Store on Windows 11. Up until now, Microsoft hasn’t offered a feature that allows the users to restore apps they had on their older Windows device on their new device. But the new Microsoft Store in Windows 11 will come with this feature.

“To make it easier for customers to transition to their new PCs quickly and seamlessly, we will soon test a new feature in the Windows Insider channel that helps customers automatically restore their apps, previously installed from the Microsoft Store, to their new Windows device. his will also help developers retain their customers without having to remind customers to re-download their app.”

In addition, Microsoft announced some new Store features as well. The company says that it will soon allow users to discover apps directly from the Search bar on Windows by showing search results from the Microsoft Store. This will reduce the number of steps required to install an app as it would directly be accessible from the search bar itself. The company is taking this move as the number of apps that are available on the Microsoft Store increases. Apps such as Firefox, Zoom, Adobe Acrobat Reader, and OBS Studio are all directly available for installation from the Microsoft Store.

Project Volterra

One of the unexpected announcements from Build 2022 was the Project Volterra. Project Volterra is an ARM-based Mac mini-like small PC that will allow developers to build and test Arm64-native apps for Windows. Since this is an ARM-powered device, it uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon “flagship” processor, though the exact model of the chipset is unknown. Much of the focus is on AI-accelerated workloads, and due to this, it features a dedicated neural processing unit (NPU).

While the hardware specifications are unknown, the images show us that the Project Volterra device will have three USB ports, an Ethernet port, and a display port on the back. There are two USB-C ports on the side, and the material used to build this is recycled ocean plastic. Microsoft hasn’t revealed the pricing or even the release date of the device. But the company says that it will share more details “at a later date.”

Project Volterra isn’t a consumer device that everyone can order. This is more of a developer-only toolkit that will allow them to build Arm64 apps and be ready for the future. With this project, and the fact that Visual Studio 2022, Visual Studio Code, Windows Terminal, and other developer tools will work natively on ARM, Microsoft seems to be pushing developers to make ARM apps for Windows 11 — even though we’re yet to see many ARM-powered Windows 11 devices. “We’re also hard at work helping many open-source projects natively target Arm, including Python, Node, git, LLVM, and more,” Microsoft executive Panos Panay said.

New Microsoft Teams features and OneNote Design

Lastly, Microsoft also announced new features coming to some of its core apps. Starting off with OneNote, Microsoft announced that it is giving OneNote a visual refresh. The design looks more in line with the other Windows 11 apps. The navigation section, full-screen mode, section tabs, and the notebook dropdown all have been given a new UI treatment with rounded corners and revamped animations. The company is also adding a couple of features to the app, such as page sorting, a new share window, and an updated draw tab.

Microsoft Teams New Design Source: Microsoft

Microsoft is also adding new features to its ever-so-popular Teams app. The new Live Share feature will allow participants to co-create and co-edit things right during the meeting, extending the screen share function even further. The company is working with developers from Frame.io, Hexagon, Skillsoft, MakeCode, Accenture, Parabol, and Breakthru to offer the new functionality. The company showcased a demo on the Hexagon app wherein users were able to zoom in, annotate, and edit 3D models together in real-time during a Microsoft Teams meeting.


This is pretty much everything Microsoft announced at the Build 2022 event. About which Windows 11 upcoming feature are you excited about? What are your thoughts on Project Volterra? Let us know in the comments section below!



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