Sun Valley, the design renewal that will come to Windows 10 in 2021

Everything seemed to indicate that Microsoft was preparing something important for Windows 10. The change in the start menu, the arrival of the WonderBar … All of this suggested that Redmond was working on something bigger.

We now know from Zac Bowden that Microsoft is preparing a major operating system update for Windows 10 in 2021. Your sources say it will bring a significant design update to the Windows user interface.

Rumors indicate that Microsoft is planning to update a lot of top-level user interfaces, such as the Start menu, Action Center, and even File Explorer, with updated modern layouts, better animations. and new features.

Sun Valley, the long-awaited Windows 10 renovation

This UI project is called “Sun Valley” internally and is expected to ship as part of the Windows 10 “Cobalt” release slated for the second half of 2021. Internal documentation describes the project as “revitalizing and modernizing the Experience of Windows desktop to meet customer expectations in a world driven by other modern and lightweight platforms. “

Windows 10 has stayed the same for the past few years, with little to no change in its design or feature set. Many other platforms on the market have undergone a complete overhaul or UI updates over the past five years, and although Windows 10 has undergone minor design iterations with the introduction of Fluent Design , we haven’t seen a significant update or rethink. of its user interface.

Sun Valley is the result of this reinvestment

The Sun Valley project appears to be led by the Windows Devices and Experiences team, led by product manager Panos Panay, who took over the division in February. Microsoft announced in May that the company would “reinvest” in Windows 10 by 2021. Sun Valley is the result of this reinvestment.

What can we expect from Sun Valley?

It’s still too early to know exactly what will update with Sun Valley. But sources at Zac Bowden said they expect new Start Menu and Action Center experiences, likely based on the same experiences found in Windows 10X, but tailored for the desktop. Microsoft is also working on an updated taskbar built with modern code and an improved user interface for the old File Explorer.

For tablet users, they indicated that better animation will come and that a smoother experience is one of the goals. We already know that Microsoft is redesigning the touch keyboard and emoji picker, as those changes are already in the Windows Insider development channel. Microsoft will also continue to apply rounded corners throughout the user interface, including app windows and other shell areas.

Sources also indicate that we expect wider adoption of WinUI in Windows Shell and native applications. Provide subtle but improved design changes. In addition, more legacy UI areas are expected to get dark mode support in an effort to make Windows UI more consistent when using Windows 10 dark theme.

I understand that this revamped design will be an evolution of Fluent Design, and probably still called Fluent Design. Microsoft isn’t introducing a new design language with Sun Valley, it’s just updating and reorienting the current language on the desktop, and trying to apply it more consistently across the operating system – a big deal. feat for the old Windows desktop.

What will the release date be?

Importantly, Microsoft may shorten or delay these plans at any time. Some of these plans may not reach the final product, as this is simply the nature of the development of the Windows operating system and the reason Microsoft does not announce these plans in advance. But these are the things Microsoft wants to offer Windows 10 customers next year.

Microsoft expects most of this work to be done by the end of Cobalt’s development semester, which ends in June 2021. The RTM version would then arrive, ship to OEMs, and start version testing. beta. designated version. The update itself won’t be released to the public until the fall, likely with a final cumulative update.

If Microsoft is able to complete its plans with Sun Valley, it will be the biggest Windows 10 user interface update we’ve ever seen. After three long years of Windows 10 in oblivion. Panos Panay wants people to switch from Windows to loving Windows. And a modern and revamped interface that is intuitive and design-oriented is a good start.

With Sun Valley, Windows 10 will remain familiar to PC users, unlike the transition from Windows 7 to Windows 8. It is rumored that for some features, users will be able to switch between new and old experiences. Giving users a choice, not forcing it on them Sun Valley aims to improve and modernize the familiar Windows user experience, not radically change it.

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