The Windows 10 event has concluded and a lot of questions were answered and rumors put to rest. If you were unable to watch the live feed during the event, here is a recap of what was announced.
Windows 10 Free Upgrade
Perhaps the most rumored announcement leading up to the event was answered. Microsoft officially announced Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for consumers only. Consumers currently using Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 will have the option to upgrade to Windows 10 for free in the first year of its release. This is not a surprise but a first of its kind for Microsoft and the way they handle sales to the general public.
Releasing Windows for free may seem like a crazy idea if Microsoft wants to turn a profit from their newest OS. Instead of focusing on charging consumers, Microsoft will make money on Windows 10 by charging businesses to upgrade or install the OS. With many businesses choosing to depart from Windows after the Windows 8 launch, Microsoft is making a move to focus on getting businesses back by offering a platform that cannot be denied by businesses around the world.
In the weeks prior to this event, many experts reported the Start menu was coming back to Windows 10. The announcement of the start menu coming back was not a shock to anyone, but with the new streamlined task bar and Start menu, it was a surprise. The start menu will contain more features and we believe, it will make it easier to navigate efficiently across multiple devices.
Users who utilize the pin feature for apps will become a big fan of the redesigned Start menu. During the event Microsoft demonstrated the anticipated full screen functionality of the Start menu. With a new feature added to the Start menu, users will now be able to efficiently expand the start menu to reveal more pinned apps. When the user needs to get back to their desktop, they can press the same button which will shrink the menu and return to a regular size. Additionally, there is an updated Action button on the right hand side of the screen offering shortcut to your favorite apps and settings.
The following tweet from Lance Ulanoff, Chief Correspondent for Mashable, shows how the Windows task bar and interface will look and feel.
— Lance Ulanoff (@LanceUlanoff) January 21, 2015
As expected, Microsoft announced Cortana will be integrated with Windows 10 and it will be launched in the next three to five months. When Cortana is fully integrated, the notifications will all appear in the task bar on the left side of the screen. Microsoft briefly demoed Cortana during the event by asking her a few questions about the weather and specific location queries to show off location based functionality. Additional features showed the dictation capability as well as running apps through simple voice commands. Lance Ulanoff gives us a short preview of Cortana below.
Windows 10 Mobile
Last month, we wrote about Windows 10 striving to become the most comprehensive platform ever created with the end goal of having one operating system across all devices. During the live event Microsoft demoed the mobile version of Windows 10 designed for devices under 8 inches. The nice feature for developers of a universal Windows 10 is that each app will feature the same exact code no matter what kind of device is being used.
Windows 10 for mobile is expected to be released in February.
With apps being run on one operating system, Microsoft announced they will be releasing refreshed apps to optimize the experience for users. Apps updated include Outlook, Calendar, Photos, People, and Music. These apps will now be able to sync your information across all devices seamlessly. More specific app updates include:
- Outlook offers a swipe gesture to archive or delete emails
- Calendar will have easier to read time intervals when using your fingers to zoom
- Photos will now directly cache images to OneDrive, remove duplicates and automatically create albums based on location, time and people in the photos
- Music will now be able to work with OneDrive to upload your music library
A few weeks ago Project Spartan images were leaked onto the web showing what possibly could come for the browser designed exclusively for Windows 10. One of the rumored features built into Spartan is the annotation of Web pages. When you need to use this feature, the page will freeze allowing the user to mark the frozen page up and save the final result to OneNote for them to share. Users will also be able to save items to a Reading List which will store webpages offline to read later.
To no surprise, Cortana will be integrated into Spartan in addition to increase competition with Google Chrome. For example, typing “weather” into the URL bar will show you the weather without you needing to go through the traditional search process. Similarly, other integrations include showing relevant information on upcoming travel plans when you type in an airline website, or shows directions to a restaurant simply by typing in the name.
If you are a gamer you will love this feature. The new Xbox app for Windows 10 will allow gamers to have voice and text chats with friends through Xbox Live from your PC. The app also includes an Instagram-style video clip sharing function for gamers to show their friends what they can do. But what if you want to send edited video? The built in video editor will allow you to edit the clip to your liking.
Microsoft is committed to making their gaming experience more unique than all others. Later this year Xbox One users will be able to stream their games to any PC running Windows 10, as well as mobile devices.
Windows Holographic + HoloLens
The most talked about announcement of the morning was revealed when the audience thought the event was winding down. Microsoft introduced Windows Holographic, a new API to add a layer of augmented reality to Windows 10. Developers will certainly love the capability to add holograms to their apps through this new technology. There is a catch though. In order to view the holographics you will need Microsoft’s special goggles, Microsoft HoloLens. These smart goggles are designed to understand a user’s voice, gestures, and area surrounding them.
The following video released by Microsoft will give you a better understanding of how much this new technology may impact our everyday lives.