On January 20, Microsoft held its Windows 10 event. During its three hour keynote, Microsoft revealed plans for the latest version of the Windows operating system in addition to new hardware.
Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Operating systems said, “First and foremost, Windows 10 will provide a seamless transition for our Windows 7 and Windows 8 customers, including the familiar Windows desktop and start menu.”
For any Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 user that upgrades within the first year, Windows 10 will be a free upgrade. The Windows 10 upgrade will include Cortana, a voice assistant similar to Siri from the iPhone.
Cortana is capable of giving you information about websites you visit, reading messages aloud, or getting directions. The interaction works similarly to what users may be accustomed to from mobile devices.
The Windows 10 update will also be available on Windows phones and tablets. This version of the mobile operating system will behave more similarly to its PC counterpart. Microsoft is focusing on making universal apps, which will run on all Windows 10 devices.
Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President of Windows said, “We have a family of universal apps, including office, that are going to make people productive with these devices and in all cases the user experience is tuned so you get benefits from things like continuum where your device will adapt to how you use it”.
Windows 10 aims to offer more of a service than previous versions of Windows. Universal apps could help Microsoft’s ecosystem become more beneficial for students. Currently, Windows phones and tablets have fewer apps available than iOS and Android devices.
Microsoft’s latest gaming console, Xbox One, will not receive a full Windows 10 update but may receive some universal apps in addition to new features.
For gamers, Microsoft is working to more closely integrate Xbox and Windows with the newest operating system.
Windows 10 will allow Xbox One owners to stream games to a Windows 10 PC or tablet.
There will be compatibility for cross-device multiplayer between Windows 10 users and Xbox One players.
There will also be an Xbox app for Windows 10 devices that allows players to chat and see what friends are playing.
In addition to the new software offerings, Microsoft announced a new virtual reality headset called HoloLens and the Surface Hub for businesses. Instead of using an input device such as a mouse or keyboard, HoloLens allows you to use gestures to interact with holograms that appear in the real world.
The HoloLens is aimed to aid both pleasure and productivity, covering a wide variety of potential uses.
The Surface Hub, on the other hand is aimed to be primarily a business device. It is an 84-inch, 4K all-in-one PC running Windows 10.
The Surface Hub supports stylus inputs and can be used as a whiteboard, or it can be used for video calls and presentations.
Windows 10 does not yet have a definitive release date, but has been confirmed for some time this year.
Members of the Windows Insider Program can already download the Windows 10 Technical Preview.