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Windows Insider Preview introduces picture-in-picture apps

The feature must be explicitly programmed into UWA apps, so it might be some time before you're watching YouTube in a floating window. (Source: Microsoft Windows Blog)
The feature must be explicitly programmed into UWA apps, so it might be some time before you're watching YouTube in a floating window. (Source: Microsoft Windows Blog)
Windows Insider Preview Build 15031 introduces a new feature called Compact Overlay. A new window mode that functions like picture-in-picture on most TVs, it will allow a new level flexibility for users wanting to consume content while they multitask. The feature is part of UWA and will need to be programmed in.

Windows Insider Preview Build 15031 is here with some interesting new features. Chief among them is a feature that's been ripped right out of your TV: picture-in-picture for apps, which Microsoft is calling the "Compact Overlay" window. 

The idea of a picture-in-picture mode for apps is such a seemingly obvious feature that you might wonder why it took so long to come to the PC. It's likely that widespread high-speed internet and the popularity of Netflix and YouTube have finally made the PC enough of a media-consumption staple to warrant the development of such a feature beyond simply splitting the screen or resizing a window.

The Compact Overlay window will allow you to watch a movie or video-conference while switching to another app. Compact Overlay works in a different way than the current split-screen system Windows 10 uses now. Currently, full-screen apps override the second panel, and you will have to devote the whole second panel to that app, losing either a large percentage of your screen's horizontal or vertical real estate. In contrast, Compact Overlay will allow an always-on-top window to float over any app.

Don't expect this feature to work with every app, however. It's currently only possible with Universal Windows Apps (UWA), and they need to be programmed explicitly to support it. You can bet that the major content-consumption platforms will probably start incorporating the feature soon.

There are a lot of other cool features introduced in the Preview Build, as well. You can check them out in the full blog post here.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2017 02 > Windows Insider Preview introduces picture-in-picture apps
Douglas Black, 2017-02- 9 (Update: 2017-02- 9)
Douglas Black
Douglas Black - Editor
Douglas Black is a technology analyst, teacher, writer, and DJ. He is also Managing Editor of UltrabookReview.