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Windows 11’s first big update arrives with Android apps, taskbar changes, and more

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It’s available right now through Windows Update

Microsoft is releasing its first big update to Windows 11 today, and it includes a lot of new additions. A public preview of Android apps on Windows 11 will be available today in the US, alongside redesigned Notepad and Media Player apps. The first big Windows 11 update will also include a bunch of improvements to the taskbar.

The public preview of Android apps on Windows 11 will allow users to install apps from Amazon’s Appstore. That’s a limited number of Android apps compared to the broader Google Play store, but there are workarounds to get Google Play Store running on Windows 11 unofficially.

The biggest changes in this Windows 11 update are related to the taskbar. The time and date will finally be available on multiple monitors in Windows 11, something that was missing at launch. The weather widget also returns to the taskbar in this update, and a new mute / unmute feature in the taskbar will be available for Microsoft Teams calls. You’ll also be able to quickly screen share a specific app or window from the taskbar directly into a Microsoft Teams call.

Microsoft has also redesigned the Media Player and Notepad apps for Windows 11. Notepad now includes multi-step undo, an improved search interface, and dark mode support. The new Media Player app is designed to replace Groove Music and Windows Media Player and includes support for both audio and video and a design that better matches Windows 11’s UI improvements.

While Microsoft moved to an annual feature update cadence for both Windows 10 and Windows 11 recently, this first big Windows 11 update won’t be the only one this year. Instead, Microsoft will add new features to Windows 11 more frequently.

“Over time, you’ll see us release new features into Windows 11 for end users more frequently in addition to our annual update,” says Windows and devices chief Panos Panay. “We will leverage the variety of update mechanisms we have in place, including servicing and Microsoft Store updates. Our goal is to deliver continuous innovation, providing you with the best experiences year-round.”

Microsoft is planning to test new experimental Windows 11 features with users throughout 2022, with secret features like wallpaper stickers and tablet mode updates already in testing.