Leaked Screenshots Reveal Windows 10 Visual Update Known as ‘Project Neon’

Microsoft 10 Neon Leaks
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Microsoft will update Windows 10’s user interface with an incremental update named Project Neon later this year.

Word about Project Neon first broke in November of last year, but today marks the first time we can get a look at the changes that Microsoft is making to their latest operating system, thanks to screenshots and internal concept videos obtained by MSPowerUser. As that news site reports, however, Neon is looking to be more of a minor update that builds upon the existing Windows 10 user interface, rather than a complete design overhaul.

Project Neon’s UI updates will focus on simplicity, with increased use of animation and visual blur, akin to the Aero Glass elements from the Windows Vista and Windows 7 era of Microsoft’s operating system, according to The Verge. The update is part of a plan to make the various user interfaces of the entire Microsoft ecosystem more consistent, DigitalTrends reported.

As part of the update, Microsoft is adding a design element they’ve dubbed “Acrylic.” Essentially, it’s a transparency that blurs whatever is behind it — and it shows up in the background, sidebar or navigation menu of a particular app. It’ll serve as a way for developers to further customize the look of their applications.

In addition, the incremental update will also focus on 3D and HoloLens, updating UI elements that interact with your mouse pointer. MSPowerUser reports that, according to internal design concept videos, the animation present in Project Neon are extremely smooth. The taskbar’s design is also seemingly being tweaked in the early concepts.

It’s worth noting that the screenshots and reports are of early Project Neon concepts — so they’re definitely subject to change. In fact, we don’t have much of a timeline as to the update’s development quite yet. Microsoft is expected to elaborate on some of the design changes at its Build conference in May — not long after the release of Redstone 2, the “Creators Update” which is scheduled to drop in April.

Project Neon’s changes should first start showing up in proprietary Microsoft apps in Redstone 3, which should be rolled out later this year. By that time, the groundwork for third-party developers will likely be laid out to start adding Neon’s changes to their apps, but that has yet to be confirmed.

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