Billed as “the first step to an era of more personal computing,” Microsoft today unveiled the latest edition of its flagship OS, Windows 10. First announced last October and finally unveiled today, Windows 10 marks a departure for Microsoft in that it moves from its “heritage of enabling a single device — the PC — to a world that is more mobile…” The result is an increased mobility across Windows-enabled devices, thus allowing users to more effectively interact with technology, anytime, anywhere. In line with that goal, Microsoft is introducing Windows as a “software as a service” for the very first time — offering more readily available updates and ultimately negating the question “What version are you on?” — and delivering it to customers as a free upgrade from their current Windows set-up.
As far as features go, Windows 10 marks the debut of Cortana — the Halo-inspired personal digital assistant on Microsoft smartphones — on both PC and tablets while the tech giant’s phones and tablets will receive a fluid, familiar Windows 10 experience that seamlessly interacts with your PC. The new OS also features “Project Spartan” — Microsoft’s next-generation web browser and one that boasts a bevy of advanced features.
Windows 10 also marks the debut of the world’s very first holographic computing platform, enabling developers to create holographic experiences in the real world and “making it possible to place three-dimensional holograms in the world around you to communicate, create and explore in a manner that is far more personal and human.” The whole experience works via Microsoft’s HoloLens — the world’s first untethered holographic computer, which allows you to view holograms in high definition and hear them in surround sound.
Check out a more in-depth breakdown of some of the operating system’s key features below and stay tuned for a closer look at the groundbreaking HoloLens. Windows 10 is currently in beta testing and scheduled to release to the public later this year.
Cortana, Microsoft’s personal digital assistant, comes to PC and tablet
For the first time with Windows 10. Cortana learns your preferences to provide relevant recommendations, fast access to information, and important reminders. Interaction is natural and easy via talking or typing, with advanced features to control Cortana for more trustworthiness and transparency.
A new web experience for Windows 10
Code-named “Project Spartan,” the next generation browser was built with greater interoperability, reliability and discoverability, with a new look and feel built just for Windows 10. Advanced features include the ability to annotate by keyboard or pen directly on the webpage and easily share with friends, a reading view that is distraction free, displaying the article in a simplified layout for a great reading experience for Web articles online and offline, and the integration of Cortana for finding and doing things online faster.
Office universal apps on Windows 10 offer a consistent, touch-first experience across phone, tablet and PC with new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook. Designed from the ground up to run on Windows, you can easily create and edit Word documents, annotate slides in real-time with new inking features or easily present PowerPoint presentations, and with new touch-first controls in Excel you can create or update spreadsheets without a keyboard or mouse. The next version of the Office desktop suite is also currently in development, more on this in the coming months.
New universal applications will ship with Windows 10, offering innovative 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 look and feel the same from app to app and device to device. Content is stored and synced through OneDrive, enabling you to start something on one device and continue it on another.
Xbox Live and the new Xbox App bring new game experiences to Windows 10
Xbox on Windows 10 lets gamers access the best of the expansive Xbox Live gaming network on both Windows 10 PCs and Xbox One. Players can capture, edit and share their greatest gaming moments with Game DVR, and play new games with friends across devices. Games developed for DirectX 12 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. Read more on Xbox Wire.
On 2in1 devices, Windows 10 will move easily between keyboard/mouse and touch/tablet as it detects the transition and conveniently switches to the new mode.