Microsoft revealed information about the company's upcoming operating system Windows 10 today during a live event.
While some questions are still left unanswered, the company managed to provide information about several topics of interest including free updates to Windows 10, whether Cortana will make an appearance, what the new browser code name Spartan does, information about DirectX 12, and whether Windows 10 for mobile phones will be unveiled during the event.
Microsoft announced during the event that upgrades to Windows 10 are free for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users. The offer is limited to the first year after release of Windows 10.
Considering that the majority of Windows users are currently working on systems that run Windows 7, it is fair to say that the offer is available to the majority of all Windows users.
The company did not reveal information about the update procedure, whether it will be automatic using Windows Update or if users need to register on a website before they can run upgrades on their devices.
A couple of new and improved desktop features were showcased during the event as well. Probably most interesting from a desktop's user point of view is the new Settings menu that seems to unify the classic Control Panel and the Start Screen's PC Settings.
The classic Charms Bar evolved into a notification and actions bar that that combines notifications and options to turn off device-specific features such as WiFi or Airplane Mode on or off.
Cortana, a personal assistant similar to Siri, was confirmed as well. According to Microsoft, it will be a huge part of the operating system including on the desktop.
Cortana can look up and display documents and files for example based on user requests (Cortana show me photos from December) and may become the primary search tool for many users. Apart from search, Cortana can be used for other tasks such as finding apps, controlling media, getting predictions, adding information to the calendar and more.
What is definitely impressive is the natural conversational flow of Cortana especially when compared to Siri or Google Now.
New Web Browser Spartan
Microsoft revealed the new web browser, Project Spartan, today as well. It features a new look and feel, and uses a new rendering engine according to the company.
Besides the clean new look of the browser, Microsoft demonstrated three new features the company added to it during the presentation:
Microsoft revealed the new Xbox app that ships on all Windows 10 systems. It is offering features known from Xbox Live to all games that run on the Windows 10 desktop.
The company added an option to all systems running Windows 10 to create snapshots and record game video automatically. One interesting feature in this regard is the ability to record the last 30 seconds of gameplay on PCs by using the shortcut Windows-G to bring up the menu.
DirectX12 is another big part of Windows 10. According to Microsoft, it improves game performance by up to 50% and cuts power consumption on mobile devices in half.
Gamers can play multiplayer games across Windows 10 and Xbox One devices.
Windows 10 on mobile devices
On the mobile side of things, Microsoft revealed Windows 10 for phones and small tablets, and announced that Office will be coming to those operating systems as well.
The company plans to release a bunch of new and improved applications for all devices supporting Windows 10 including a new photo application, people and music app.
Windows 10 users will be able to put music collections on Microsoft's OneDrive cloud storage service.
Microsoft will release a new build of Windows 10 in the next week. Languages support will increase from four to 25.
Two interesting new hardware devices were revealed during the event as well. Microsoft Surface Hub is a 84-inch 4K display that supports multi-touch and pen-input and ships with an advanced array of sensors, cameras and microphones.
Designed for the business world, it improves meetings in several ways while running on Windows 10. The feature demonstrated was the boards whiteboard functionality and options to run other apps, such as Skype group calls, side by side with it.
The second device is more ambitious than that. Windows Holographic is an augmented virtual reality device that brings holograms to the environment you are in. It is powered by HoloLens, a virtual reality headset
Additional information are available on the Blogging Windows site.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution: