There were so many terrific announcements made today from Microsoft during the company’s Windows 10 showcase event, if you didn’t attend, staying on top of them could prove to be difficult. The company packaged Windows 10 as full-service operating system, offering a safe and unique way to work and play across devices. Microsoft also announced that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade to anyone running Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1, if they choose to upgrade within the first year of release.
“Windows 10 marks the beginning of the more personal computing era in the mobile-first, cloud-first world,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “Our ambition is for the 1.5 billion people who are using Windows today to fall in love with Windows 10 and for billions more to decide to make Windows home.”
If one word could sum-up the event, it would be “seamless,” Microsoft’s new OS aims to create a perfect package for delivering apps, video and content regardless of the device or screen that you working on. With a strong dedication for “natural” interaction, the new OS will use voice, gestures and gaze to allow the user to navigate the UI and input commands. Microsoft also stated that privacy-protection will play a pivotal role in the Windows 10 experience.
As expected, Cortana will be coming to both PCs and tablets in 2015. Cortana is Microsoft’s answer to Siri, a personal digital assistant now available on Windows Phones. Cortana learns from the user to offer recommendations, fast access to information and important reminders, and in 2015 the software will expand into more devices than ever.
“Project Spartan” will be the newly improved internet browser for Windows 10. The browser will bring with it new features and updates over Internet Explorer, including the ability to input or share via keyboard or pen directly on or from a webpage, a specialized “reading view” that removes the clutter of the internet to deliver the content you want, and the ability to save that information offline. Safari, Apple’s browser offers a similar reading view and offline storage currently.
As for gaming, Xbox Live and the new Xbox app will offer a new gaming experiences to Windows 10 users. Xbox on Windows 10 lets gamers and developers access the Xbox Live network on both Windows 10 PCs and Xbox One. Players will soon be able to capture, edit and share their gaming moments with Game DVR, and play new games with friends across devices.
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, not over the internet.
Stepping away from games and into the productivity side of Windows 10, Microsoft Office will offer a universal apps with a “touch-first” experience across devices. The new version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook are designed “from the ground up to run on Windows,” and designed to make everything easier. A new inking feature 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.
Microsoft stated that the next version of the Office desktop suite, “is also currently in development and Microsoft will have more to share in the coming months.”
Additional Windows 10 features and innovations shared today include the following: (as detailed by Microsoft)
- 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.
“Everything about Windows 10 — the experiences, delivering it as a service and the free upgrade — means that Windows 10 isn’t just another product, it’s an ongoing relationship — one that will give ongoing value to all our customers,” said Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Operating Systems group at Microsoft. “The new generation of Windows is a commitment — a commitment to liberate people from complex technology and enable them to do great things.”
As the world’s first holographic computing platform, Windows 10 includes a set of APIs that enable developers to create holographic experiences in the real world. With Windows 10, holograms are Windows universal apps, and all Windows universal apps can also work as holograms — making it possible to place three-dimensional holograms in the physical world and enabling new ways to communicate, create and explore that are more personal and human.
To showcase the possibilities of holograms in Windows 10, Microsoft unveiled the most advanced holographic computer in the world. Microsoft HoloLens is the first untethered holographic computer — no wires, phones or connection to a PC needed. Microsoft HoloLens features see-through holographic high-definition lenses and spatial sound so you can view and hear holograms in the world around you. Complete with advanced sensors, a next-generation system on a chip and the addition of a completely new Holographic Processing Unit (HPU) that understands what you are doing and the world around you, Microsoft HoloLens is able to run without any wires while processing terabytes of data from the sensors in real time.
By placing three-dimensional holograms in the world around you, Microsoft HoloLens provides a new view into your reality that can tell what you are looking at and understand what you are saying with your hands and voice. By putting you at the center of the computing experience, Microsoft HoloLens allows you to create, access information, enjoy entertainment and communicate in new and exciting ways.
Windows 10 is powering a new large-screen device to help teams in the workplace share, ideate and create together. Hardware innovations in multi-touch and digital inking, along with built-in cameras, sensors and microphones, allow the Surface Hub to take advantage of Windows 10, Skype for Business and Office 365 to deliver a new experience designed to make every person — whether remote or onsite — feel as if they’re in the same collaborative space. Specifically, the Surface Hub features state-of-the-art digital white boarding; instant remote conferencing; the ability for multiple people to share and edit content on the screen from a laptop, tablet or phone; and a trusted platform for large-screen apps. Available in two sizes — 55-inch and 84-inch — the Surface Hub removes the current limitations of traditional conference room scenarios to empower teams to create their best work together.