Is “Compact Overlay,” available in Windows 10 Insider build 15031, the replacement for Xbox Snap Mode?
Today, Microsoft released the Windows 10 Insider build 15031 for PCs and this latest preview build brings a pretty exciting feature called Compact Overlay windows for UWP apps . This looks basically like a picture-in-picture mode for Windows apps, and it should be pretty great for video streaming apps like Netflix or messaging apps like Skype. Of course, it will be up to developers to support it on their UWP apps, but Microsoft announced that its Movies & TV and Skype Preview apps will implement it very soon.
As Windows Central noted though, this new feature looks quite similar to the picture-in-picture experience that the Xbox team quietly introduced on the latest Xbox Insider builds as a replacement for Snap mode. For those unfamiliar, it’s no longer possible to snap some apps like YouTube, Achievements or Skype to the side of your screen in the latest Xbox One Preview builds, and UWP apps on the Xbox One don’t support Snap mode at all.
However, Cortana and the Achievement tracker now use a new overlay system in the latest Xbox One preview builds, which lets you enjoy your games in full screen. You can watch an example below with the Achievement tracker, please also note that the Xbox team added the ability to control the transparency level this week:
We have yet to see any other UWP app support this new overlay mode on the Xbox One, but we have high hopes that Microsoft is ready to bring some consistency between Windows 10 and the Xbox One OS. As Snap mode has been pretty much deprecated on the gaming console now, it really makes sense to let UWP apps that support Compact Overlay mode on Windows 10 have the same functionality on the Xbox One. Anyway, the Xbox team has been releasing new Xbox One Preview builds much faster than before these days, so we may learn more about the new picture-in-picture experience on the Xbox One very soon.Further reading: Windows 10, Windows Insider, Xbox Insider Program, Xbox One, Xbox UWP