So this week it happened, Microsoft announced during a press event on January 21st its next, a new generation of Windows - with a wide range of experiences designed to usher in a new era of more personal computing. Windows 10 will be delivered as a service to offer a safer, innovative and updated experience for the supported lifetime of the device which will include PCs, laptops, tablets and Phones (formerly known as Windows Phone). According to Microsoft, Windows 10 marks the beginning of the more personal computing era, where technology disappears and people are at the center. While Microsoft's initial was to have a (DOS/Windows) PC on every desk, 2015's Microsoft vision is to have a unified Windows on every device.
In this new era, the mobility of the experience matters, not the mobility of the device, and Microsoft said that experiences should work in a seamless, familiar way across devices. People should be able to naturally interact with technology as they interact with other people - with voice, gestures and gaze. Protecting privacy plays a pivotal role in delivering trustworthy experiences that put people in control of their experience.
Therefore, Microsoft showcased on Wednesday a variety of new experiences coming to Windows 10, including the following:
- Cortana comes to PC and tablet. The Cortana personal digital assistant, which debuted on Windows Phone last year, will now also be available on Windows 10 PCs and tablets to help people get things done. Cortana is a personal helper who learns an individual's preferences to provide relevant recommendations, fast access to information and important reminders, bringing what matters most to their attention. Interaction is natural and easy via talking or typing, with advanced features to control Cortana for more trustworthiness and transparency.
- Windows 10 will feature the new Microsoft browser, code-named "Project Spartan," which was built with interoperability in mind. With key features built-in natively to the browser, it will enable greater reliability and better discoverability. Some of the most advanced features in the browser include the ability to annotate whether by keyboard or pen directly on the webpage and easily share with friends; a reading view that is distraction-free, displaying the article in a simplified layout for a great reading experience for Web articles online and offline; and the integration of Cortana for finding and doing things online faster. All of this is offered with a new look and feel built just for Windows 10.
- Xbox Live and the new Xbox app bring new gaming experiences to Windows 10. Xbox on Windows 10 lets gamers and developers access the best of the expansive Xbox Live gaming network on both Windows 10 PCs and Xbox One. Players can capture, edit and share their greatest gaming moments with Game DVR, and play new games with friends across devices, connecting millions of gamers around the world. Games developed for the new DirectX 12 application programming interface in Windows 10 will see improvements in speed, efficiency and graphics capability. Players will also be able to play games on their PC, streamed directly from their Xbox One consoles to their Windows 10 tablets or PCs, within their home.
- Office for Windows 10. Office universal apps on Windows 10 deliver a touch-first experience across devices. New versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook are designed from the ground up to run on Windows, built for touch, and offer the unmistakable Office experience customers know and love. With the familiar features for Office, people can create and edit Word documents with ease. New inking features in PowerPoint let people annotate slides in real time, and the new touch-first controls in Excel make it easy to create and update spreadsheets without a keyboard or mouse. The next version of the Office desktop suite is also currently in development and Microsoft will have more to share in the coming months.
Additional Windows 10 features and innovations shared on Wednesday include the following:
- Continuum mode. On 2-in-1 devices, Windows 10 will move easily between keyboard and mouse and touch and tablet as it detects the transition and conveniently switches to the new mode.
- New universal apps. Windows 10 will offer new experience applications, consistent across the device continuum, for Photos, Videos, Music, Maps, People & Messaging and Mail & Calendar. These built-in apps have an updated design that looks and feels the same from app to app and device to device. Content is stored and synced through OneDrive, enabling people to start something on one device and continue it on another.
"Everything about Windows 10 - the experiences, delivering it as a service and the free upgrade - means that Windows 10 isn't just another product, it's an ongoing relationship - one that will give ongoing value to all our customers," said Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Operating Systems group at Microsoft. "The new generation of Windows is a commitment - a commitment to liberate people from complex technology and enable them to do great things."
Windows 10 adapts to the devices customers are using - from Xbox to PCs and phones to tablets and tiny gadgets - and what they're doing with a consistent, familiar and compatible experience. Windows 10 will run across an incredibly broad set of devices - from the tiniest of sensors as part of the Internet of Things, to servers in enterprise datacenters worldwide. Some devices have 4" screens, some have 80" screens and some don't have screens at all.
The next Technical Preview for Windows 10 on the PC will be available for free to Windows Insiders in the next week and for the first time on phones later in February. More information on the Windows Insider Program and the Technical Previews can be found at http://preview.windows.com.
When Windows 10 is commercially launched, a free upgrade for Windows 10 will be made available to all customers currently running a legal copy of Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1. The upgrade will be available free of charge for the the first year but an official release date wasn't announced.
While all these free updates sound pretty exciting, Windows RT users will not benefit from it as Microsoft made clear that Windows 10 won't be available for Windows RT devices like the Surface RT or Surface 2. Sounds like this is the end of ARM-based Windows tablets, a category Microsoft released to compete with Android and iOS devices but which never lifted-up.
Cheers ~ Arne