Windows 10 is Microsoft’s next major release that is expected to launch in late July. Microsoft was very eager to abandon the Windows 8 brand name because it was not well-received by critics and users. The new OS will add many new features while at the same time undoing changes that were unpopular in windows 8. Some of the new features include:
- New start menu – Many users were unhappy with the removal of the start button in windows 8, so Microsoft is reintroducing it. But rather than focus on desktop apps alone, the windows 10 start menu mixes in a dash of the Metro start screen’s functionality by including windows live tiles. These can be turned off and unpinned from the start menu, returning it to its purely desktop focused format if you wish.
- Cortana – A new digital personal assistant and knowledge navigator that builds off Microsoft’s previous voice technology called TellMe. Cortana’s features include being able to set reminders, recognise natural language queries without the user having to input commands, and answer questions using information from Bing (like current weather, sportscores, traffic conditions). Cortana also keeps a notebook about you that includes your interests and device-usage habits, allowing it to tailor search results. It can also do things like play your music and send e-mails for you.
- Spartan web browser – Microsoft’s new browser which will serve as the default browser on both the PC and mobile editions of Windows 10, replacing internet explorer 11. Built from the ground up on Microsoft’s new “Edge” rendering engine, it allows you to draw directly on webpages and annotate them with text, and share those notes via e-mail or OneNote. Features integration with Cortana who will drop info in the address bar as you search and pull extra data into a sidebar such as Bing Maps or Yelp Reviews depending on what you are searching, so you have extra information on hand while you browse. Includes a clutter-stripping reading view which allows you to stash articles in the complementary reading list app for later perusal.
- Virtual Desktops – Allows a pseudo multi monitor setup on one monitor in which you to go back and forth between apps or desktops on one screen.
For existing Windows 7 & Windows 8.1 users, Windows 10 will be free for the first year, and users will be able to directly upgrade from these versions. Microsoft have not yet revealed the pricing structure after this time frame or whether or not it will be a subscription based OS. It’s unclear at this time on the pricing for users that are still using an older version of Windows. Microsoft have also announced that the free windows 10 upgrade will be available to users of pirated software stating “We believe customers over time will realise the value of properly licensing Windows and we will make it easy for them to move to legitimate copies”.