Yesterday I touched a little bit on Microsoft’s big Windows 10 event. Today I wanted to cover it – in more detail. Prepare yourself for some very exiting things on the horizon from Microsoft.
First and foremost Microsoft will be releasing a new milestone build of Windows 10 “next week” and in Feburary will launch the first build of Windows 10 to target smartphones and ARM tablets.
Windows 10 is the successor to Windows 8.1. It will be offered as a free upgrade to all Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users. This is a big deal especially for all those Windosws 7 holdovers. Microsoft has not announced a specific release date yet, but is expected to offer up a near-complete build at a soft launch in April. According to the most recent reports this will be followed by a full roll out, complete with new Windows 10 phones and PCs this fall.
There was some exciting news here as Cortana’s presence is being expanding across all devices. Today she only resides on Windows phone, and that is a shame because from my experience Cortana is superior to Siri in many ways. Her duties wil include the traditional scheduling (interfacing with the calendar and reminders apps), search (with web support via Bing), dictation, email addressing, and more.
In addition the PC build of Cortana wil include support for local searches of files, with natural language processing to understand context such as a date range. It also will include the ability to type queries/commands to her. You wil be able to activate her up by saying, “Hey Cortana.”
The big news here, are the Universal Apps, which aim to offer apps across a broad range of devices with a disciplined focus on reducing effort on the developer front. As an example Microsoft showed off a new version off Office that transitions seamlessly from touchscreen devices to the traditional PC, boasting more powerful features than current mobile Office builds. A particularity cool addition here is a new build of Outlook which features Microsoft Word fully integrated as its email editor for rich text.
In support of the universal apps effort I mentioned above DirectX 12 will become the cross-platform graphics API. Microsoft claims its offers greater power efficiency and “50 percent higher performance” in PC games (as compared to DirectX 11).
Microsoft’s flexible UI technology switches between touch controls or traditional PC controls, based on the target device hardware.
Xbox One Games on the PC
This one will surely be a hit with gamers. Microsoft plans to offer streamed versions of popular Xbox One games. These games will be offered for play on tablets and PCs.
Project Spartan Browser
The new build of Internet Explorer, Project Spartan will be the default browser for Windows 10. From early reviews you will actually want to use this one! It will feature extensions. As a surprise bonus it will reportedly have native compatibility with Google Chrome extensions, although this was not confirmed yesterday. Spartan is lightweight and fast thanks to its branched version of the Trident rendering engine. It will also sport “compatibility mode” for sites having problems rendering to the new browser.
Spartan also has full Cortana integration as well as OneNote integration. You can save Reading Lists and clip content for offline reading; these items can be synced across all your Windows 10 devices (including phones and tablets).
So there you go – that’s alot of Microsoft goodness and 2015 looks to be the “Year of Windows 10” which will allow Microsoft to place Windows 8 in the rear view mirror.