Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella dangled the highly anticipated Windows 10 21H2 update (codenamed Sun Valley) in our faces at Microsoft Build, a two-day developer conference that kicked off on Tuesday.
Nadella boasted that he gave Windows 10 21H2 a few test drives over the past few months, and he's excited for the public to try out Sun Valley, too, which is poised to be released in late 2021 (via PCWorld).
- How to watch Microsoft Build 2021 — and what to expect at the free developer conference
- The OS that never was: Microsoft puts Windows 10X to bed
- The best laptops of 2021
Microsoft ramps up excitement for Windows 10 Sun Valley (21H2)
Nadella, during a pre-recorded keynote at Build, hinted that the Sun Valley update is fast approaching and raved about the sweeping Windows overhaul.
“Soon we will share one of the most significant updates of Windows of the past decade, to unlock greater economic opportunity for developers and creators,” he said. “I’ve been self-hosting it over the past several months and I’m incredibly excited about the next generation of Windows.”
According to The Verge, Nadella's veiled remarks about "greater economic opportunity" refer to Microsoft's plans to launch a new app store that will benefit developers and creators. Take this with a grain of salt, but there's a rumor that the Redmond-based tech giant will authorize third-party commerce platforms in apps, which would allow developers to dodge Microsoft's 12% and 15% cut on games and apps, respectively.
"Our promise to you is this: 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," Nadella said.
Windows 10 Sun Valley 21H2: new features for the everyday user
Developers and creators aren't the only cohorts benefitting from Windows 10 Sun Valley 21H2.
The major update will feature sweeping changes to the UI and design for the everyday user. Icons and fly-out menus will reportedly have rounder corners; users will spot this "softer" look on the Start Menu, Live Tiles, the Action Center and more.
As we reported in April, Microsoft is also working on launching a personalized news feed that can be accessed via a weather tab on the taskbar. When users click on the tab, it will launch a mosaic of news cards that are tailored to the users' interests. Users can "tune" their feed by choosing their preferred news disseminator or selecting their favorite interests.
These are only a fraction of the updates we expect from Windows 10 21H2; we'll just have to wait until Sun Valley's arrival to find out its full breadth of upgrades.
Windows 10X, an OS for dual-screen devices like the Surface Neo (which seems to be in limbo), was also poised to be released this year, but Microsoft abandoned the project. Instead, some of its key tech will be implemented into Sun Valley's code. We can't wait to see how it turns out.