Microsoft Corp. on last week unveiled Windows 10, designed for large screens to no screens. The software giant also announced that a free upgrade for Windows 10 will be made available to customers running Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1, who upgrade in the first year.
Microsoft said a variety of new experiences are 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.
- New browser “Project Spartan” puts the Web to work, for you. 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.
- 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.
Windows 10 adapts to the devices customers are using — from Xbox to PCs and phones to tablets and tiny gadgets.
The event saw Microsoft announce the 84-inch Surface Hub device, with advanced sensors, pen input support, dual cameras and a 4K display. It appears to have been specifically designed for enterprise customers, with various meeting features demonstrated at the event.
The new Windows Holographic headset (HoloLens) was also revealed, and will work with all Windows 10 universal apps. The glasses have see-through lenses (and so the image will be overlayed onto the real world), spatial sound, advanced sensors and a holographic processing unit. Users can create holograms using gestures, vision and voice commands, with the wireless headset working independently of a PC.
The Technical Preview for Windows 10 on the PC is now available for free to Windows Insiders and for the first time on phones later in February.