Windows 10

Microsoft Provides a Much More Complete Look at Windows 10

As expected, Microsoft provided a lot more information about Windows 10 at a media event on Wednesday and promised to ship many of the new features to testers within the week. But the software giant also had a few surprises up its sleeve, including giant new Surface Hub conferencing systems and an innovative augmented reality headset called HoloLens.

Microsoft is promising to ship many of the new Windows 10 features to testers within the week following Wednesday's media event in Redmond. (Image Credit: Microsoft)
Microsoft is promising to ship many of the new Windows 10 features to testers within the week following Wednesday’s media event in Redmond. (Image Credit: Microsoft)

“Windows 10 is the first step to an era of more personal computing,” Windows lead Terry Myerson said today. “We are moving Windows from its heritage of enabling a single device–the PC–to a world that is more mobile, natural and grounded in trust.”

Myerson and his coworkers then stepped through a two-and-a-half hour presentation that piled up the news in such rapid succession that it was almost hard to keep up. But here are the highlights.

Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for consumers for a limited time. In a bid to get as many users on the latest Windows version as quickly as possible, Microsoft will make Windows 10 available for free to users of Windows 7 with Service Pack 1, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1. This offer will be available for the first year of Windows 10’s life cycle. Windows 10 will also be a free update for Xbox One.

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Windows 10 is being positioned as “Windows as a service.” In order to get that free Windows 10 upgrade, consumers will need to agree to let Microsoft update the product for the lifetime of the devices on which it is installed. This will effectively remove the need to worry about version numbers since most users will always be up-to-date.

Businesses can still license Windows 10 in traditional ways. But Microsoft would really like to see its business customers adopt the always up-to-date strategy as well.

Windows Phone will be replaced by Windows 10 for phones and small tablets. Smartphones and tablets with screens smaller than eight inches will have their own Windows 10 version that looks and works much like Windows Phone OS.

Continuum arrives. For detachable PCs like Surface, Windows 10 will provide a seamless transition between laptop and tablet states, where apps float on the desktop in the former and run full-screen in the latter.

Cortana is coming to the PC and Xbox One. Windows 10 will include an improved version of the Cortana personal digital assistant capabilities that debuted in Windows Phone 8.1.

Project Spartan is a new web browser. It won’t replace Internet Explorer yet because of compatibility reasons, but this new browser adopts a sleek new UI, typed and handwritten page annotation functionality, easier sharing, an improved reading view and offline article viewing.

Office universal apps will be included with Windows 10. If you’re using Windows 10 on a phone or small tablet, you will get the Office universal apps — Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook Mail and Calendar — for free.

Universal apps are new and improved. Apps like Photos, Videos, Music, Maps, People, Messaging, Mail and Calendar are being updated with the evolved look and feel of Windows 10, to support usage across device types, and to support content sync via OneDrive.

New Xbox app. A new Xbox app will be the hub for all your Xbox gaming activity in Windows 10 and will provide new features like Xbox One game streaming (to any Windows 10 PC or tablet), friend finding, and more.

New devices. Microsoft showed off two new devices, the Surface Hub — an 84-inch screen with an internal Windows 10 PC and an array of sensors and unique capabilities — and HoloLens, a crazy-innovative augmented reality headset that will have ramifications for both personal and business use.

Microsoft says that testers can expect the new build of Windows 10 — which will include some but not all of the features mentioned above — “within a week,” though my sources say this should be available as soon as Friday. And the first pre-release build of Windows 10 will be made available for current Windows Phone devices in February, my sources told me.

Looking ahead, Microsoft says it plans to reveal more information at upcoming events such as the Game Developers Conference, WinHEC, Mobile World Congress and Build. The company says it will ship Windows 10 sometime later in 2015.

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Comments (12)

12 responses to “Microsoft Provides a Much More Complete Look at Windows 10”

  1. This is very exciting. It’s nice to see that future windows interactivity finally answers so many of the “why can’t i ” questions that people ask me.

  2. Paul – about that “update” requirement – can I still choose to delay updates, or do I have to enable automatic updates to qualify for the free upgrade to Windows 10? My Surface Pro 3 has been nearly bricked more than once by allowing automatic updates – I prefer to allow the adventurous ones among us to beta for a few weeks before I update anything other than malware/crus updates.

  3. Great posts and congrats on your new site! Question –
    When will you be writing to Thurrott.com and when will you be writing to Petri.com? I use a news reader app and wondering if this means needing to include both feeds. Thanks!

    • Hi Danny!

      Thanks for the note. I can answer that one: Paul will be writing daily news for Petri.com as well as writing for his own site. Petri is a bit more focused on content for system administrators and IT professionals, so Paul will be covering a bit more SMB and business-related news here.

      Also: If you want to follow posts from a specific author on Petri, you can grab the RSS feed from his or her author profile. Paul’s author profile on Petri is here: https://petri.com/author/paul-thurrott

      – Jeff

  4. for those of us with small download caps: will there be a way to manage data volumes when Microsoft pushes updates automatically? I often download updates toward the end of my billing cycle when I know how much data I’ve got left. I hate getting throttled to dial-up speeds!

  5. it’ll be interesting to see how well the Continuum works, given that it seems similar to Apple’s Continuity, which doesn’t work too well. My girlfriend and I always laugh when we do FaceTime and she answers on her iPad. Her iPhone keeps ringing, at least 6 more times. Apple have some work to do lately. I actually bought my iMac (and MBP) due to concerns over where MS was taking Windows when Win8 first hit. I bought the iMac a month later. I still use Win 8.1.1 with Start8, but I avoid Metro stuff, the Charms, and the Store entirely. I’ve essentially turned it into a more secure, faster Win7.
    But Windows 10 seems like they’re addressing all the issues. I’m really looking forward to it.

    • I’m familiar with continuity, and that same example of weird issues with it. Continuum isn’t really the same at all, as it aims to smooth the transition between interfaces and input approaches within the SAME device, rather than linking things between devices. Mind you, Win10 seems to be in a similar place with synced notifications and calls.

  6. Terrific coverage, Paul, as I know I can expect here. Thanks. Anything said, either way, about the fate of Windows Media Center (apologizing now for even asking as I slowly back out of the room…)?

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Paul Thurrott is an award-winning technology journalist and blogger with over 20 years of industry experience and the author of over 25 books. He is the News Director for the Petri IT Knowledgebase, the major domo at Thurrott.com, and the co-host of three tech podcasts: Windows Weekly with Leo Laporte and Mary Jo Foley, What the Tech with Andrew Zarian, and First Ring Daily with Brad Sams. He was formerly the senior technology analyst at Windows IT Pro and the creator of the SuperSite for Windows.
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