Last week Microsoft held the second event for Windows 10 and more details about the new operating system has been unveiled. This previous unveiling of the Windows 10 OS was more to a technical preview while this event was closer to a consumer point of view. In case you missed the previous preview, you can read it here. So, what else did Microsoft reveal? Here are 8 of the most notable things that we learned from the event:
Windows 10 is Upgradable for Free
The most important announcements of the event was that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for a year for anyone who already owns Windows 7 and Windows 8. This means that you have one year to upgrade your devices after the new Windows is launched, free of charge. This is a great move by Microsoft in convincing more people to try out their new operating system (OS). To be more specific, Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 users will be able to upgrade to Windows 10. However, Windows RT will not receive the upgrade and will instead receive parts of the new features only.
What about Microsoft’s income then? Well it seems they are going to sacrifice short term profits to maintain their market share and long term profit such as providing services like the OneDrive and Office365 cloud services. Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 10 will not have a subscription based model. The reason behind this move is not told publicly but what matters the most is that users like us can enjoy the benefit. Hooray!
Windows 10 on the PC, Tablets, Phones and Others
For starters, Windows 10 is not only made for PCs but for tablets and smartphones as well. If the device’s screen is less than 8 inches, it uses the Windows phone style interface and look. Regardless of the screen size, all operating system will have the same name: Windows 10. The user interface of Windows 10 on phones and small tablets is shown for the first time during the event. The visual interface looks very similar, except that the Start page looks closer to the Metro-style Start menu on Windows PCs.
Microsoft also mentioned some improvements. The settings page has been organized so that we can find each settings easily. The pull down Action Center now supports single notification dismissing and expanding of quick settings. The keyboard can has a precision pointing stick to move cursors around efficiently and you can use voice dictation instead of typing. IP messaging willl be supported in the messaging app so that you can save cost on SMS. The preview for Windows 10 on phones will be available on February.
Currently, the apps from Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox are not shared. They have different stores and the applications will not run on all with the same code. Microsoft is set to change by unifying all of the platforms. Universal Apps look set to be the bridge between phones , computers and gaming consoles in terms of software because they allow developers to share code between platforms. This means many programs or applications can be used on your desktop or on your phone. Of course, every OS able to run apps should always have an appstore and the Universal Appstore is no different. What is different though, is that the Universal apps can be shared across different platforms such a laptop and an Xbox while data will be synced using Xbox Live or OneDrive. Considering that currently if all is according to plan, only Windows will have this one app for all platforms system which is good news for users too as they will only have to buy the app once.
In my opinion, it was a real smart move from Microsoft because the Windows Store suffered from lack of popular apps because people really did not want to develop apps for a platform that had a rather small share of the market but with this strategy, developers have more possibilities to market their products and this may result in better apps for consumers. However, we do not know how well the applications will be optimized for different kind of devices at this moment.
Cortana comes to Windows 10
Microsoft also demonstrated Cortana’s use on the PC which makes sense because the due to the sharing of code mentioned earlier. In case you are not familiar with Cortana, she is the personal digital assistant first launched on Windows Phone. It is well-received and Microsoft has decided to bring it to the PC. It’s like getting Siri on a Macbook or Google Now on a Chromebook. Finally, voice commands can be done on a PC. By speaking “Hey Cortana”, your personal assistant will be at your command without even hitting any button. Here’s a list of what Cortana can do:
- Learns individual preferences to provide relevant recommendations
- Integrates with the calendar for fast access to information and important reminders
- Easy and natural interaction via talking or typing
- Advanced features to control Cortana for more trustworthiness and transparency
- Located in the lower left corner, next to where notifications appear
- Can dictate emails and texts
- Search for apps, files, OneDrive, etc.
- Ask Cortana to do things like “play my music”
- New language support
- Integration with Microsoft’s new “Spartan” web browser
Project Spartan to Replace Internet Explorer
Also in the news, everyone’s favourite punching bag Internet Explorer looks set to be replaced by a new browser codenamed Project Spartan. The final name is yet to be confirmed though. A key feature of this new web browser is that users can annotate webpages like using a pen on paper and then share them using the OneNote with collaborators. It also has a reading mode that clears away annoying sidebars to make reading easier. You can add sites into your reading list which will be synced across all devices.The browser is integrated with Cortana as well, and will assist with info gathering if needed. An example is getting a restaurant’s operating hours, road directions and addresses etc from its webpage. The new benchmark score shows that the new browser is indeed a better performer.
Xbox on the PC and tablets
Moving on, the Xbox is now coming on the PC through the Xbox app. Actually, it just means that you can stream the Xbox One’s games to the desktop or tablet which runs Windows 10 but it is limited to the local Wi-fi. So if your TV is occupied, you can play your Xbox games on PCs. Microsoft’s is also attempting to combine social media and games which means there will be activity feeds where users can share achievements, chat online, share gameplay videos or plan a multiplayer session with their friends.
Surface Hub, the 84-inch 4K display monster
Microsoft also announced the Surface Hub, which is an enormous 84-inch 4K screen device meant to be used in the office. It is a giant digital whiteboard for meetings where everyone can edit content on the Surface Hub through their own laptops, tablet or phone. The Hub itself supports touch and stylus input too. The meeting minutes can be sent to all attendees of the meeting automatically after the meeting ends. The pricing is expected to be very high so don’t expect to see normal consumers using this large device anytime soon. Enterprise users are Microsoft’s target market with this entry and Microsoft hopes its new tool will help to make meetings more productive.
Project HoloLens Creates Virtual Holograms
In this event, Microsoft also unveiled an exciting new plaything, Project HoloLens. This awesome gadget can create holograms (visible only to the wearer of the HoloLens or displayable on screen) which the user can control via hand or voice gestures such as moving a holographic robots arms, increasing a model building’s height etc. It comes with its own processor that Microsoft calls the HPU (Holographic Processing Unit). The possibilities for such a great technology is endless especially in the designing department. You would understand the idea more by watching the video below:
At this moment, the project is still in its infancy and many things are unconfirmed. Microsoft has left us with more questions than answers. The project will be delivered “within the time frame of Windows 10”. The period can be quite long and we expect years before this comes into public.
Overall, Microsoft gave us a few surprises especially with Project HoloLens. However, it is good to maintain a decent amount of skepticism as to how the user experience will be and whether Windows 10 will be a significant upgrade to Windows 7 and Windows 8. It is probably best not to jump the gun immediately when Windows 10 launches but to give it some time for any issues to work out. Hopefully, Windows 10 will be a better performer than Windows 7 and Windows 8 as Microsoft’s credibility cannot take any more bashings after Windows 8’s failure to impress.
Source: SuperSite for Windows