After announcing last week that Windows 11 will receive a larger-than-usual upgrade in February with Android apps, taskbar improvements, and other features, Microsoft is now revealing its intentions for Windows 11 testing in 2022. The software company says it intends to test more features for Windows 11 testers that may or may not be released.
“As part of this ongoing evolution, Insiders will see us lean more heavily on the Dev Channel as a place to incubate new ideas, work on long-lead items, and control the states of individual features,” explains Amanda Langowski, the lead for the Windows Insider Program. “In some cases, these concepts will never ship, but by experimenting more, we can better refine experiences, and deliver solutions in Windows that truly empower our customers to achieve more.”
We’ve seen A/B testing before, where a small group of Windows Insiders gets access to a feature before Microsoft makes it available to all testers. However, there may be future variations on features that Microsoft does not fully detail. When Microsoft releases a new build, several Windows aficionados hunt for new features, using flags in the operating system to turn hidden features on and discover what Microsoft is experimenting with.
“We also recognize that some of our more technical Insiders have discovered that some features are intentionally disabled in the builds we have flighted,” says Langowski. “This is by design, and in those cases, we will only communicate about features that we are purposefully enabling for Insiders to try out and give feedback on.”
The Dev Channel for Windows 11 testing will now only contain experimental features, allowing the Beta Channel to contain features that are closer to what will be released to the general public. If new features are closer to launching, they may appear first on the Beta Channel.
Microsoft is now proposing to allow Windows 11 testers a timeframe during which they can transfer from the Dev Channel to the Beta Channel to avoid the more experimental features coming soon. This is anticipated to correspond with the February release of improvements such as Android app support, taskbar tweaks, and revamped Notepad and Media Player apps.