Following months of speculation, Windows 11 finally has a release date. Microsoft has formally announced that Windows 11 will be available on October 5th. What’s more: it arrives as both a free upgrade for eligible Windows 10 setups and with new PCs shipping with the OS preloaded.
All supporting machines can expect to get the update by the middle of 2022, but the impetus will remain on upgrading newer eligible machines, to begin with. Microsoft will leverage “intelligence models” to determine who gets the upgrade first. This means you could find yourself at the back of the queue if you have older Windows hardware.
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In the official release statement (opens in new tab), Aaron Woodman, general manager of Windows marketing at Microsoft, said that "following the tremendous learnings from Windows 10, we want to make sure we’re providing you with the best possible experience."
Microsoft will therefore proceed with a phased Windows 11 rollout, with Woodman anticipating that all "eligible devices are to be offered the free upgrade to Windows 11 by mid-2022.” This staggered approach should help Microsoft pick up any learnings along the way, so it can bundle them into each new stage as it moves forward.
Android app support, but not yet
One caveat that remains with the formal October launch of Windows 11 is its native Android app support. Initially, this won’t be available on launch day; Microsoft expects to exclusively release this in a Windows Insider preview build sometime in the “coming months.” So, while Microsoft will eventually bring Android apps to Windows 11 through the Microsoft Store and its subsequent partnership with Amazon and Intel, initially this will only be through a Windows Insider preview build.
If you're interested in whether your laptop can run the new OS, there's already an app that lets you determine its Windows 11 compatibility. Otherwise, you can check out all the top new features heading to Windows 11 to give you a taste of what Microsoft has in store come October 5.