After the ‘failure’ of Windows 8, Microsoft has finally unveiled a draft look at the design and features of its next operating platform- Windows 10.
At a Windows 10 product launch, Microsoft unveiled Windows 10 as a platform that will be smoother and a more cohesive experience for users when they alternate between different devices. The platform will be launched “later in the year” in 2015 and will be available free for the first year for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users to help aid it’s adoption. Further information about prices was not mentioned.
After the lack of interest and adoption for the Windows 8 platform, Microsoft needed to showcase a radically different and more innovative OS. Terry Myerson (Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Operating Systems) refused to elaborate on why Microsoft skipped directly from Windows 8 to 10, stating only that “based on the product that’s coming and just how different our approach will be overall, it wouldn’t be right”.
Frank Gillett, of Forrester consultancy commented that “overall, we know that about only about 10% of computers are running Windows 8 and the adoption rate among companies is similar or lower”. He went on to add that “developers are not paying much attention to Windows for mass market consumer apps, and you could even argue that for enterprise software most of the energy is going into mobile apps for iPad and Android tablets. Windows 10 is in effect a huge invitation to software developers to write exciting, powerful applications that will draw consumers”.
Some of the key features of Windows 10 include the return of the ‘Start’ menu, virtual desktops and a ‘Charm bar’ for easier control for those using a mouse. Microsoft has tried in general to make the Windows 10 OS easier for mouse users, which has in turn unfortunately reduced the ease of use for touch screen users.
Joe Belfiore, the Corporate Vice President of Operating Systems Group at Microsoft went on to demonstrate their voice controlled tool called Cortana. He demonstrated how the software could be used to:
- respond to request that have been typed
- bring up Powerpoint presentation documents
- locate photos taken during a specific month
- dictate and send emails
- tell the user whether or not the weather forecast indicates they should wear a coat later
- show where their car is parked
Early reviews of Windows 10 are reporting it looks like a ‘fixed Windows 8’ and that ‘Windows 10 is an improvement, but it’s basically 8.2’. Microsoft are inviting users to trial a ‘rough’ version of the design through their ‘Windows Insider Program’. You can sign up for it here.