Why Windows 11 Wants a Seamless Tablet Experience

Making table computing more accessible

Key Takeaways

  • Windows 11 takes a heavy focus on tablet-centric features.
  • With Windows 11, users can seamlessly swap between laptop and tablet mode without being interrupted.
  • Experts say the experience could make Windows more accessible for consumers who often need to move between traditional and portable computing.
Windows 11 Displayed on a tablet computer with a stylus laying nearby.

Microsoft

Some of the most significant features in Windows 11 are designed to make the move between laptops and Windows-powered tablets more seamless, which experts say will make portable computing even more accessible.

Windows 11 is looking to shake up Microsoft’s operating system when it launches later this year, and last week the company showed off a slew of new features and changes coming with the OS. Chief among them were more improvements to make the experience between laptop and tablet mode on 2-in-1s more seamless.

Updates to the touch targets and the removal of Windows tablet mode are all critical parts of the new system. Altogether, experts say the changes will help make portable computers more appealing to consumers by offering simpler experiences.

"Windows has a good thing going by attempting to push the 'seamless desktop > tablet' angle. If they market their tablets as portable computers that are much more accessible than laptops, they can build a need from a customer base that wants to have options for where they do their computing," Christen Costa, a tech expert and CEO of Gadget Review, told Lifewire in an email.

Seamless Computing

Though they've been around for several years now, the usability of many 2-in-1 tablet PCs always has been hit or miss. Some offer great accessibility to your apps and desktop when in tablet mode. In contrast, others seem to suffer significantly due to inadequate touch response or just general wonkiness in how the operating system has been portrayed in the past.

With Windows 11, though, Microsoft takes away many of the more complex factors and focuses on a simpler interface and experience. Costa also says it’s important to keep in mind how users approach their computer needs differently.

For example, graphic designers or artists may prefer working in tablet mode, where touch controls are more likely to fit their needs. Writers or those working on more traditional tasks may find the laptop mode more fitting.

"The touch features of Windows 11 are obviously more suited to a tablet, and I would do any kind of visual work on a tablet before I'd sit down and do it on a desktop," Costa explained.

He says it makes sense for Microsoft to focus heavily on additional tablet features and a more seamless experience. It removes the barriers between traditional computers and more portable options.

This barrier has long been an issue for consumers who need to move between modes quickly, and removing it will go a long way towards helping Windows feel more like a connected experience, overall. That connectivity is also something Microsoft has long been fighting to achieve.

Making Space

Over the years, as new instances of Windows have been released, we’ve seen quite a few off-shoots from the traditional operating system. Back in 2012 and 2013, Microsoft released Windows RT, which was meant to work as a more simplified version of the operating system.

The Windows 11 snap desktop screen

Microsoft

Designed for tablets, Windows RT received a lot of backlash from users who felt cut off from the standard Windows apps and programs that they needed.

Microsoft’s answer to this was another version of Windows called Windows 10X, which it killed off a few months ago. Many experts feel that the improvements and enhancements designed for Windows 10X have been transferred to Windows 11. This most likely explains a lot of the tablet-centric features we’ve seen displayed so far.

"I do think the death of 10X made room for 11. 10X was, to me, more of a niche OS than it was meant to be. It didn't have the same selling points as Windows 10, and it just wasn't getting anyone excited by its unique selling points," Costa explained in our emails. 

Many users have most likely never heard of Windows 10X, as Microsoft didn’t broadcast its development that heavily. Also, following the failure of Windows RT, it’s most likely that Windows 10X would have been approached somewhat warily by consumers, especially if it started to feel too disconnected from the more traditional version of the OS.

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