Microsoft Unveils Windows 10 as Free Upgrade for Windows 7 & 8.1, Desktop Cortana Voice Control
So many Windows!
“Forget 9! Ten is where it’s at! Just look at Apple! Now we both have OS X!” [Citation needed.]
So what’s different about Windows 10? The Cortana voice assistant from Windows-based smartphones will come to desktop users. Also, Windows 10 will be free for its first year for all Windows 8.1 users as well as users who are still back on Windows 7. That goes for all devices running Windows 8.1, too.
The OS is also getting a visual overhaul and features options for views and start menus familiar to users who prefer the tablet-like Windows 8 Interface or a more Windows 7-esque experience. Its modern, flatter aesthetic looks a lot like what Apple’s been doing to iOS and, to a lesser extent, OS X—not that Apple invented that aesthetic, but both companies are certainly moving in the same direction in terms of design. Windows 10 will also feature universal apps like Office that are the same across the desktop and mobile devices.
The new browser, codenamed Spartan, will come to Windows 10, too, and it’s got some Goggles-like features.
It’ll also have reading list features similar to those of Safari, and it’ll save content from your reading list for offline viewing later so you’re never without anything to give you an excuse to stare at your phone/computer screen and ignore the world around you.
For gaming, Windows 10 has an Xbox app that allows access to Xbox Live communities and profiles on the desktop as well as a game DVR function that allows on-the-fly recording of gameplay video for sharing with the app. On the tech side, they’re giving developers more direct, fine control of CPU and GPU functions, which can boost game performance as much as 50% according to Phil Spencer.
It’ll also give you off-TV play of games installed on your Xbox One through streaming to Windows 10 devices. The Wii U isn’t going to be alone in off-TV play anymore.
But wait! There’s more. “Surface Hub” is a crazy big, 4K display that has all sorts of computing functions and bells and whistles like cameras that can automatically turn it on when someone approaches it and the ability to write directly on it with a stylus.
This thing is generally meant for business applications in your futuristic workplace.
They’re also working on an augmented reality headset to interact with Windows apps in 3D with “holograms.” All Windows 10 builds, including mobile, come with the functionality.
The headset is separate hardware called HoloLens that has see-through, high definition display lenses for the AR effect.
No word on release date yet. “Windows 10 timeframe.” It’ll also include spatial sound functions, voice recognition, and sensors to understand your surroundings in real time.
They’re working with NASA’s JPL and the Mars Curiosity rover team on using holograms for exploring Mars! So that’s pretty darn cool.
We’ll have more as Microsoft continues their demonstration.
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