Thursday, January 22, 2015

Windows 10 - A New Generation of Windows

Microsoft drew back the curtain on the new operating system - Windows 10 at an event on Wednesday by showing off exciting new features.

Start menu is back and is more customizable than ever. The start menu has the search functionality built-in (like in Windows 7), you can pin your favorite apps on the start menu and you can also resize the start menu to your liking. There is a new Android-style 'Action Center' that provides quick access to Wi-Fi options, Bluetooth, and other settings.

In Windows 10, the desktop is more powerful than ever before. You can have multiple desktops for user to be more productive. There is also a Task View, which is used to switch between apps and desktops. For convertible devices like the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro, Windows 10 has a new Continuum mode that switches almost instantly from a mouse and keyboard to a tablet screen.

Windows 10 is also tailored for devices smaller than 8 inches, which reorganizes the interface to look a lot more like the old Windows Phone operating system. Notifications will also sync between PC and phone, and Microsoft-owned service Skype will integrate into the messaging app.

Cortana, Microsoft’s personal digital assistant, is coming to the PC. Cortana will now live next to the start button on the task bar and serve as a natural-language interface for Windows 10. It will answer spoken or typed queries, searching documents across local documents as well as ones stored on OneDrive. Cortana will also provide links and suggestions as you type.

Cortana in Windows 10

Microsoft is bringing the Xbox experience to Windows 10 by launching a Xbox App. The app brings over Xbox One features like your messages, friends list, and activity feed to PC. You can chat with people on Xbox Live and view console achievements and videos from your desktop, as well as record your own clips on PC.

Xbox App

Microsoft also announced a brand new web browser, codenamed - Project Spartan. Spartan has a cleaner & flatter look than Internet Explorer and will include reading lists (think Pocket in your browser), a distraction-free reading mode and a built-in PDF viewer. It will also include support for Cortana. This means the browser will know about your upcoming flights, which will pop up right in the browser’s search bar.

Project Spartan

A new hardware was announced which is an 84-inch 4K screen meant for the workplace and is called the Surface Hub. The device can notice people in the room and can pick up audio from anyone in its vicinity. It can also run any Windows app, and it can do that through Skype from any connected device, regardless of whether that tablet, laptop or desktop is running Windows 10. For instance, the Surface Hub will let even iPad users connect to it and share files, as long as the iPad is running Windows software like Word or PowerPoint.

One of the biggest announcements at the event was the Holo Lens. Its a virtual reality device that is able to project holograms into real life, via the display, and overlay them onto objects and walls. With a built-in GPU and CPU, the headset is a self-contained computer, and is able to operate on its own. It runs using a software architecture Microsoft calls 'Windows Holographic' and it's now calling for developers to support it.

Holo Lens in Action

Windows 10 will be officially available later this year. The OS will be available for free for one-year to users running Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 on their devices.

Microsoft has also launched a Windows 10 Insider Program, through which you can test drive the technical preview and consumer preview of the OS & give valuable feedback.

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