Valve has released a hefty bundle of updates for the Steam Deck. The updates appear to cover the full gamut possible for the device, from the Steam software and OS on the machines to firmware-level tweaks. Probably the two most interesting changes delivered today were the introduction of the new Lock Screen feature and fTPM for Windows 11 compliance. Additionally, there are some quality of life improvements worth highlighting, such as localized keyboards for 21 languages, the addition of an uncapped framerate setting, support for apps with multiple windows, improved battery life, and better system stability.
Adding a lock screen option to a portable device like the Steam Deck should prove popular. Valve reckons it can help prevent your little brother or sister from playing with your Steam Deck without permission. In the Settings app, you can toggle this feature and set a PIN. Users can also choose when it appears: it can be configured to appear on wake, boot, login, and/or when switching to Desktop mode.
The Steam Deck is also getting more of an international flavor with the new update. Valve has added localized keyboards for 21 languages and layouts. As you might be familiar with other systems, you can activate multiple languages and quickly switch input between them by pressing the globe key on the bottom row. At the time of writing, Valve hasn't implemented Chinese, Japanese, or Korean input but says it is in development.
Another change is the introduction of support for apps and games with multiple windows. Using the Steam button to bring up the task switcher shows and lets you switch directly to your choice of window. Valve explains that this feature is particularly useful for web browsers or games launchers. If you like keeping up to date with your Steam Achievements, a faster loading page, which is said to be easier to navigate, has been crafted.
Above we have discussed several changes to the Steam Client, but SteamOS has a significant number of updates. Many of these changes will be very welcome if you have a Steam Deck, as nearly half of them fix bugs or improve something about the device.
Highlights of the SteamOS update include the added fTPM support, enabling Windows 11 installation, along with improved battery life and system stability. Some of the changes have widened the Steam Deck's compatibility with accessories like chargers, Type-C docks, and SD cards.
None of the above changes is particularly groundbreaking. Still, together they help the relatively new device provide a well-rounded experience to the early adopter base. It also gives hope to those on the sidelines pondering over a purchase or waiting for details of Steam Deck V2.
Current owners and prospective purchasers should be pleased to see Valve's steady release of updates for the Steam Deck and the ecosystem. The platform already looks like it could easily be Valve's biggest ever hardware success, and we hope it can remain dedicated to progressing the device, its client software, its game library compatibility, and its OS through multiple generations.