Earlier today, Microsoft held a Windows 10 event to focus on the consumer side of Windows 10 and introduce some new hardware form factors. The session invited press in person to Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, Washington while the rest of the world was allowed to watch the presentation over a live stream. The webcast was horribly done with regular buffering, stuttering, and dropping out right. Even when the video was smooth, most of the presenters were awkward and stiff. Despite the presentation problems, the technology they were showing off was heard loud and clear.
With a previous event in November covering the enterprise features in Windows 10, this event was able to focus on the consumer side including gaming, apps, and hardware.
The first part of the presentation included a bit of a recap with Windows 10 features that are looking to be a happy compromise between Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. The new action center replacing the charms bar looks like it will be much more useful and combining the Settings with Control Panel will take some getting used to but will be worth having one consistent place.
Windows 10 will be offered as a free upgrade within its first year of release to upgrade Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 8.1 Mobile devices to Windows 10.
Windows 10 will utilize Universal Apps which will allow them to operate across desktop, laptop, tablet, and phone devices. Developing Universal Apps will be the focus of Microsoft’s next BUILD conference.
Cortana, the personal digital assistant from Windows Phone like Siri, is coming to Windows 10 and is integrated with Windows Search.
Continuum is the feature of Windows 10 that will determine the best interface for users. For example, if a Surface Pro has a keyboard connected, the Start Screen will act like a Start Menu. When the keyboard is disconnected, the Start Menu will act like a Start Screen.
A new browser code-named “Project Spartan” will headline the operating system as a next generation browser that is faster and able to adapt without the legacy baggage that Internet Explorer has with it.
Microsoft will be bridging entertainment features using the Xbox app on Windows 10. It will allow PC gamers to communicate with Xbox One gamers while also introducing new features like Game DVR. The DVR functionality can be activated with Windows Key + G which will record the last 30 seconds of a game and allow you to share it across social media. The demo showed the functionality working with Steam games as well.
The Xbox app will also allow streaming Xbox One games from the console to a Windows 10 device which may not have high-end graphics capabilities.
New hardware was shown today including the Surface Hub and HoloLens. The Surface Hub is a large 4K display that can be wall mounted. The large display is designed to empower group work. The Surface Hub is a 55-inch or 84-inch TV with sensors to detect who is present in the meeting and send them the notes afterwards that were written up on the Surface Hub with its stylus.
The HoloLens might be the most exciting part of today’s announcement. It leapfrogs Google Glass and allows people to interact with apps through augmented reality by wearing glasses. From full apps like a web browser or streaming video applications. Holo Studio begins to untap the potential of HoloLens by enabling 3d modeling.
The Windows 10 Product Family is rounded out with the new additions of the Surface Hub and HoloLens and ranges from the small Galileo device to smartphones, tablets, laptops, PCs, and the Xbox One.
You can view the Blogging Windows post from today for all the details of today’s announcement. You can experience Windows 10 as part of the Windows Insider program. Newly announced features are rolling out next week and into February. Windows 10 is expected to be released in the second half of 2015.