Microsoft announced September 30th in San Francisco its latest installment to the Windows franchise. Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s Executive VP of Operating Systems (OS), gave the opening and closing address, while Joe Belfiore, Corporate VP – OS Group, gave a 30 minute demonstration of Windows 10 highlights.
1) The Successor to Windows 8 Will Be…10?
Why did Microsoft skip version 9? Because Windows 7 ate 9!
My apologies for the awful joke, but it has a thread of truth – Windows 8 caused many to lose their appetite, so Microsoft bypassed the 9th version in favor of Windows 10, presumably as a symbolic gesture to their commitment of creating a revolutionary OS that combines the best of both worlds. Microsoft wanted to name it “Windows One” to follow the theme of a single OS across all devices – the details of which will be revealed throughout this post – but they already patented “Windows One” several versions ago.
2) Why 10 Is the New 9
Creating this “version gap” between 8 and 10 allows Microsoft to emphasize another message – Windows 10 represents the last major Windows update. Henceforth, Microsoft will be releasing minor updates instead of waiting several years to release a new version. In retrospect, perhaps this piecemeal approach would have saved the calamity between 7 and 8, as the UI transition would have been rolled out incrementally instead of all at once.
3) Multi-Device Compatibility Across Consumer and Enterprise Demands.
In Satya Nadella’s email to Microsoft employees, he indicates the new Microsoft vision “is to enable people to thrive in this mobile-first and cloud-first world.” In Windows 10, all applications will be written in the same code, making cross-device use a seamless and familiar experience.
4) MDM Supported Across All Devices
Mobile Device Management (MDM) will be supported on PCs instead of just phones and tablets. This benefits enterprises as it allows a single touchpoint for IT control across all corporate-connected devices.
5) Embracing the Internet of Things
Along the lines of the above 2 points, Microsoft is embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) by implementing Windows 10 across PCs, tablets, phones, and the Xbox. Although each device will have its own rendition of Windows 10, the core OS elements will remain ubiquitous.
6) One Store Across All Devices
Currently, the Windows Phones utilize a different application store than the tablet/PC operating systems. Going along with the above theme of a single OS across all devices, the Microsoft Store will likewise be ubiquitous across all Microsoft products.
7) Combined Attributes – “Continuum”
Many criticized Windows 8’s touch-style layout while we still in the age of the mouse and keyboard. Since Windows 8 digressed from Windows 7 in pursuit of a touch-friendly UI, it also took with it user familiarity. Although 8.1 brought back many of 7’s familiarity, it wasn’t released for a year after 8’s launch, at which point many enterprises were decidedly in favor of remaining on Windows 7.
Nevertheless, Windows 10 combines the tiles of Windows 8 and the Start Menu of Windows 7 via a seamless transition dubbed “Continuum.”
Continuum takes the above mentioned mouse and keyboard versus touch UI into practice, specifically for 2-in-1 devices such as the Microsoft Surface. By recognizing whether a keyboard is present with the device or not, Windows 10 will ask if you’d like to enter “tablet mode,” wherein the interface adjusts to accommodate a touch-friendly design. Clicking the “Start” button will take you to the Windows 8 style interface, and a “Back” arrow will be placed next to the start button for easier navigation, amongst other modifications to be revealed at a later demo.
8) “Snap Assist”
When leveraging multiple windows during a task, Windows 10 allows the user to easily snap 4 windows in the 4 quadrants of the screen, as shown below. Currently, users can do this with 2 windows by grabbing the header bar and dragging to the right or left to populate half the screen.
9) Help Build Windows 10 Through the Windows 10 Insider Program
Microsoft is offering its fanatic users a chance to be a part of every Windows 10 creation moment, from beginning to end. You will have access to Windows 10 Technical Previews, all the builds as soon as they’re available, and an easy-to-use feedback app for supplying your opinions.
10) Release Projected for Mid-2015
And finally, some ballpark timeframes for future demos and ultimately the release of Windows 10 was alluded to by both Terry Myerson and Joe Belfiore during the presentation. Early 2015 will reveal:
- “The consumer story and end user delight that Windows 10 will bring”
- In April, we’ll continue the story and dialogue about universal apps.”
- “Later in the year, we look forward to launch Windows 10, and some amazing new devices.”