Windows 10 is Microsoft’s next step in the life of the operating system. It focuses on gaming, the return of the start menu, Cortana on the desktop and more
The low down
Windows 10 was first debuted back in September of last year, but it focused on the business side and it was more of a preview than anything else. This week, Microsoft was focusing more on the consumer, sending the message across that every device should have the same experience, apps and content – no matter of size. So phones, tablets, PCs and the Xbox One can have access to the same services.
Terry Myerson, who led the keynote in September, announced the important highlights this week, while head of Windows and mobile at Microsoft, Joe Belfiore took to the stage to talk about the main features and how the whole operating system is designed to make the experience better for the user.
Belfiore first showed off the tweaks that have been made rather than the big name features. Firstly, the return of the start menu. The iconic Windows Start menu made a disappearance with Windows 8 but you’ll be pleased to hear has made a return sing Windows 10, it has the ability to expand to a “touch friendly” mode and fills the screen, which actually looks more like the Windows 8 start menu than anything else, but you don’t have to use it. Also the new action centre replaces the now defunct ‘Charms bar’ offering quick controls to the WiFi settings, Airplane mode and more, it operates in the same way as the counterpart does on Windows Phone. In Windows 10, the Action centre also becomes the Control Panel with one click on the full screen button.
Something which was sort of announced in September is the ‘tablet mode,’ but it has been rebranded and is now called ‘Continuum’ – it allows the user interface to shift from the desktop and the modern interface depending on what device is being used. And if you’re a Surface user, it’ll switch the interface whether a keyboard is attached.
Cortana is coming to the desktop. This is something that was rumoured since Cortana debuted. The Cortana voice assistant will be able to search your computer for you and answer the usual questions like – “what’s the weather like today?’
Good news, Internet Explorer is gone. Microsoft have a new browser called Spartan which is a clean looking browser with a brand new, built in rendering engine. The browser now allows you to take notes and literally draw on the screen and then share the image to a friend, via OneNote. Belfiore explained that, a lot of what we do on the internet is reading, so they have included a new ‘Reading Mode’ and ‘Reading List’ to help you with this.
Xbox, with Windows 10
Microsoft, aside from productivity and work, gaming is a big side of the company and what better than the Xbox One. Windows 10 and Xbox are deeply integrated, the new Xbox app for Windows is basically a large version of the SmartGlass mobile app, it lets you see when your friends are online, chat with them, view achievements and more.
DirectX 12 is also a new part of Windows, Phil Spencer, who is the head of Xbox said the new API can offer up to a fifty percent performance increase in games.
When will it be available?
Windows 10 Preview will be available next week and a Windows 10 build will out after the Super Bowl.