Published 2 February 2015
Windows 8 brought dramatic changes that drew much acclaim and sharp criticism. With over a billion Windows users in the world, Microsoft’s showcase event last Thursday morning (NZT) drew much worldwide attention because everyone anticipated that Windows 10 would be revealed. We weren’t disappointed. Here are the highlights:
- Free upgrades: Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for the first year after release for people running Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows Phone 8.1. What this means for businesses licenses is not yet clear.
- Simplified naming: No more Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8.1 or any other moniker that exists. They will simply become Windows 10. Windows 10 will be running on Xbox ONE, Phones, Tablets and Desktop PC’s.
- Auto keyboard detect: It’s called Continuum – This is a very handy feature for devices like Surface Pro etc which have a removable or concealable keyboard. This feature allows the operating system to detect the whether a keyboard is attached or not and will ask switch between a touch version of the Operating System or the traditional Keyboard/Mouse mode. The really neat feature is the fact that it remembers the settings you have for each mode as you switch back and forth.
- Hybrid Start Menu: Many people dislike the Windows 8 Style Start Menu. This has been greatly improved in Windows 10. Back is the nice view of the Start menu so many love in Windows 7, however there are “Modern Apps” alongside. The Start Menu is also resizable, vertically or horizontally.
- Mini-Tablets come with MS Office for free: Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint will be included with Windows 10 on devices smaller that 8” in screen size. There is a page layout mode, essential to editing a document, and a very nice mode called “reflow mode” that will all documents to be viewed on small screen devices. There is a new Outlook/Calendar app that looks very nice for touch devices.
- Universal Data: Simple synchronised experience. All these wonder applications and menus are synchronised across all your devices using OneDrive. This means that recent documents will be visible on any device nearly instantly. OneDrive will be allowing the upload of your music libraries and playlists will be synchronised across, you guessed it, all of your devices.
- New Web Browser: Project Spartan. What is this you ask? Well it is Microsoft’s new and improved Web browser. It again synchronises everything and you can annotate a webpage and share comments with others. It does this by freezing the page in time, however the links still function as they normally would on the “live” version of the page. You can also store pages to a “Reading List” that you can later come back to in an offline mode. Cortana (Microsofts Digital Assistant – think Siri on steroids) will be tightly integrated with this browser. Natural voice commands and information can be gathered by Cortana from the Bing Engine and displayed alongside the page you are viewing.
- Cortana global release: Cortana is now part of the operating system in Windows 10. Microsoft digital assistant has been part of Windows Phone 8.1 in some countries of the world for about a year now, however it will be making its near global release with Windows 10.
- Universal access for Xbox ONE content: Streaming of Xbox ONE games onto your PC running Windows 10 is something that may not be used by our readers, however it really does show the power of this single experience. Users will be able to fluidly move between devices and share the power of all those devices. PC and Xbox One game players will be able to play against or with each other, in games that have this enabled.
- Universal Apps: Applications developed for Windows 10, will easily be able to be used almost any form factor as Microsoft moves to unify development. This is a big deal, because it reduces development time and allows you access to the 1.7 Billion Windows devices on the planet.
- Microsoft startles with its own Glasses: Microsoft Holographic and HoloLens is the eye-popping announcement of the day. This is a very powerful technology that overlays “holograms” over your physical reality. This will have far reaching effects on the way we interact with our technology and environment. We believe this to be a something that will be used by Gamers, Design Engineers, Surgeons and other professionals that deal with 3D rendering in their physical environment.
- 1-Click Conference Meetings: Surface Hub – This is an 84” Ultra HD TV packed with cameras and sensors that allows easy meeting setup and collaboration. The average meeting takes 12 minutes to get started, by the time everyone is signed in and connected etc. This piece of hardware running Windows 10 looks to streamline this process to 1-click meeting activation.
We’ll be bringing you more about what Windows 10 means for our business customers as soon as it becomes available. Stay tuned.