The new build of Windows 10 for Insiders in the Dev Channel focuses all on input: there are substantial changes for the Emoji selection panel, for the virtual keyboard and for voice dictation. Much of the software comes directly from the work done so far with Windows 10X: there are new features and substantial aesthetic restylings.
The keyboard has a new graphic style, new animations and numerous layout optimizations, which include the size and spacing of the keys to increase typing comfort. Microsoft lists:
- Press the key: new animation and new sound
- The tap & hold on some letters to insert variants and alternatives has been optimized to speed up the process
- Moving the keyboard on the screen when it is not anchored to parts of the interface is more convenient
- All items in the settings menu have labels for greater clarity
- Moving the cursor using swipe left and right on the space bar
- Integration of emoji search and animated GIFs
- Integration of a key (to the left of the space bar) to start voice dictation
We remind you that the virtual keyboard can also be started on traditional PCs and used with the physical mouse. You have to activate it manually by right clicking on the taskbar and choosing the option Show virtual keyboard button. An icon will appear at the bottom of the taskbar. At this stage the new keyboard will be released only to some of the Insiders who have installed the new build. Not all layouts have already been adapted for all supported languages.
We have been talking about it for a long time, and we can simplify it by saying that the new panel is basically the one seen so far in Windows 10X. The design is more aligned with the dictates of Fluent Design, the search system is more immediately visible and there is support for animated GIFs, complete with search thanks to a partnership with Tenor. A button to call up the universal clipboard will also be included. Again, the distribution initially only affects a subset of Insiders.
From Windows Dictation to Windows Voice Typing: the name change is a clear signal that Microsoft considers this update to be very significant. The interface design has been modernized and is more compatible with virtual keyboards, and automatic punctuation is now supported. Finally, the backend part has been updated to ensure a higher quality of the user experience. The voice dictation system can be reached by pressing the new dedicated icon in the virtual keyboard (see above) or by pressing WIN + H on the physical keyboard.
Windows Dictation is immediately available in several languages, including Italian. But, as usual, it will come to a subset of Insiders for now.
It is not yet known when the new features will arrive in the stable channel. Let's assume in the feature update of early 2021.