Microsoft

Windows 11, Surface, Xbox, and more: These are the biggest Microsoft news stories of 2021

Surface Laptop Studio HeroSupply: Home windows Central

2021 was a large 12 months for information, together with new {hardware}, main software program updates, and the most effective years for gaming that Microsoft has seen in a very long time. Right here at Home windows Central, we printed effectively over 1,000 information items this 12 months, together with Microsoft asserting Home windows 11, the launch of latest Floor {hardware}, and the discharge of Halo Infinite. From insider scoops to product launches, listed below are the largest information tales from 2021 associated to Home windows, Xbox, and all issues Microsoft.

A model new model of Home windows

Windows 11 Start Surfacepro Lighting

Supply: Daniel Rubino / Home windows Central

For years, it was thought that Home windows 10 can be the ultimate model of Home windows. That turned out to not be the case, as Microsoft launched Home windows 11 in October 2021. The brand new working system builds on Home windows 10 in a number of methods, together with supporting all apps from its predecessor. Home windows 11 modernized a number of parts of the OS, together with the Begin menu, icons, and the Taskbar.

This transfer towards simplicity has been met with blended reactions. Whereas Home windows 11 trimmed down a few of the complexities of the OS interface, it lacks a few of the options seen in Home windows 10. Moreover, the Begin menu and Taskbar bumped into criticism. Many have appeared for the most effective apps to customise Home windows 11 to revive each the look of earlier variations of Home windows and misplaced performance.

Home windows 11 bumped into points earlier than it launched. A complicated set of minimal necessities and blended alerts from Microsoft’s device for checking eligibility made it troublesome to inform if some techniques would have the ability to improve to Home windows 11 in any respect. The requirement of getting TPM 2.0 was the limiting issue for a lot of computer systems. On account of this confusion, the Home windows userbase was cut up to a sure level. Whereas tech-savvy of us know in regards to the limitations and the best way to work round them, some normal customers are nonetheless confused about why their PC hasn’t seen the choice to replace.

Microsoft Store Windows11 October

Supply: Daniel Rubino / Home windows Central

Those who did obtain Home windows 11 gained entry to a number of new options and a brand new Microsoft Retailer. A renewed push on getting builders to work with Home windows has confirmed profitable, as a number of main corporations have introduced their apps to the Microsoft Retailer, together with Adobe, Zoom, and OBS. The transfer to permit unpackaged apps was a giant increase to Home windows, as was the choice for builders to make use of their very own income stream.

Avid gamers acquired some good options within the improve to Home windows 11. Many of those options had been already accessible on the Xbox Collection X and Xbox Collection S. Auto HDR works with over 1,000 DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 video games. Direct Storage improves load instances and takes benefit of the most effective SSDs. DirectX 12 Final additionally consists of options for builders, together with Raytracing 1.1, variable fee shading, and Sampler Suggestions.

Whereas Home windows 11 has a refreshed interface and new options, many view it as an elective replace, not less than for now. The OS ought to proceed to enhance as Microsoft rolls out new options, equivalent to Android app help. Those who need it now have probably already upgraded. Those that do not feel the necessity to replace can await fairly some time since Home windows 10 will stay supported till 2025.

A load of latest Floor units

Surface Pro 8 Hero Profile

Supply: Daniel Rubino / Home windows Central

Because it does yearly, Microsoft launched a number of new items of Floor {hardware} in 2021. This 12 months, the corporate launched the Floor Professional 8, Floor Go 3, and Floor Duo 2. It additionally launched the Floor Laptop computer Studio, a novel laptop computer with a floating show.

The Floor Professional 8 noticed a design refresh that introduced it extra according to the Floor Professional X (although it’s barely thicker than its Home windows on ARM sibling). In some ways, the Floor Professional 8 represents the head of its kind issue. It has a 13.3-inch120Hz show, helps Thunderbolt 4, and has a superb webcam. A brand new Slim Pen 2 with haptics pairs with the Floor Professional 8 to enhance the handwriting expertise. Our govt editor Daniel Rubino stated that the “Floor Professional 8 lastly hits its full potential with the all-new redesign for 2021.”

The Floor Laptop computer Studio introduces a brand new kind issue to the PC house. It encompasses a floating show that may relaxation in several positions to facilitate a spread of workflows. After all, a type of positions is that of a standard clamshell laptop computer. In that class, the Floor Laptop computer Studio stacks up towards the likes of the Razer Blade 15 and the HP ENVY x360 15.

Surface Laptop Studio Stage Mode

Supply: Daniel Rubino / Home windows Central

The Floor Go 3 is a extra modest refresh in comparison with its siblings. It is equivalent to the Floor Go 2 in each method aside from its processor. Whereas the gadget does not help any new options, the entry-level mannequin is 60% extra highly effective than that of the Go 2.

In contrast to the remainder of the Floor household, the Floor Duo 2 is a cell gadget that runs Android. It is the sequel to the unique Floor Duo, which acquired blended opinions as a consequence of its buggy software program. The Floor Duo 2 has a considerably higher digital camera setup than its predecessor and slimmer bezels as effectively. The hinge additionally has a Look Bar that may present notifications when closed, although that function is not that versatile.

Extra importantly than bumping up the internals and normal {hardware} specs, Microsoft centered on the software program expertise with the Duo 2. Whereas it is not excellent, it is considerably smoother than that of the primary Duo, which nonetheless hasn’t acquired Android 11. Microsoft has additionally supported the Duo 2 higher than the unique Duo to date, together with a day-one replace and a big December replace.

A giant 12 months for gaming and Xbox

2021 proved to be one of many largest years ever for Xbox. Whereas the Xbox Collection X and S got here out in 2020, the Xbox model as a complete noticed a serious increase this 12 months. The consoles got here into their very own, and new video games took benefit of the up to date {hardware}.

Xbox Sport Go added some big-name titles this 12 months, together with MLB The Present and Outriders within the spring. Psychonauts 2 and Soccer Supervisor 2022 additionally made their option to the service this 12 months.

These titles had been merely appetizers in comparison with Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, and Age of Empires IV, all of which turned accessible on Xbox Sport Go and PC Sport Go on their respective launch days.

Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda was finalized in 2021, which ought to solely assist the corporate’s library of video games going ahead. Video games from Bethesda also needs to diversify Xbox’s first-party lineup fairly a bit.

A unbroken international chip scarcity

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 reviewNVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 review

Supply: Harish Jonnalagadda / Home windows Central

The continued international chip scarcity began earlier than 2021, however it continued all through your entire 12 months. Element shortages affected the supply of the most effective GPUs, the Xbox Collection X, Xbox Collection S, and PlayStation 5. Scalpers solely made the issue worse, making it virtually not possible to seize new devices.

NVIDIA launched a number of RTX 30-Collection GPUs in 2021. Whereas these are glorious graphics playing cards, they’ve been troublesome to buy. Scalpers and bots devoured up any inventory that turned accessible, creating an costly second-hand market. To get their fingers on high-end graphics, some players bought the most effective RTX 3080 laptops.

AMD additionally launched a number of high-end graphics playing cards this 12 months from its RX 6000 sequence. Like competing playing cards from NVIDIA, AMD GPUs have been exhausting to search out in inventory. For instance, the RX 6800 is a superb GPU for QHD gaming, however it’s out of inventory at nearly each retailer.

Some shocking tales

Forza Horizon 5 Willys Jeep

Supply: Xbox Sport Studios

Whereas not the largest tales by way of conventional newsworthiness, a couple of items piqued the curiosity of our readers way more than others. These stood out for protecting shocking subjects or garnering an sudden quantity of curiosity.

Early this 12 months, a hidden message was discovered within the new White Home web site. It was simply an invite to use for jobs associated to coding, however it gained fairly a little bit of traction. Huge corporations typically conceal comparable messages on their web sites, however the invitation from the White Home gained consideration because of the stature of the Workplace.

Regardless of Microsoft releasing Home windows 11 this 12 months, individuals in Armenia seem to favor Home windows XP. In keeping with StatCounter, as of September 2021, 53.5% of desktops within the nation ran Home windows XP. It isn’t clear why so many Armenian desktops run XP, however the numbers do not lie.

Forza Horizon 5 was the most effective video games to launch in 2021. Shortly after the sport turned accessible, an odd development emerged. As a part of an effort to shortly progress via the sport, individuals would buy Willys Jeeps by the a whole lot, earn a Tremendous Wheelspin, after which reward the automotive to a random participant. Because of this, hundreds of Willys Jeeps flooded the Forza Horizon fanbase.

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