Microsoft Surprises the World at the Windows 10 Event
Microsoft held their big event earlier in the day and revealed quite a bit more than just Windows 10. Microsoft drew so many viewers that several of the streams had difficulties throughout the conference. In this overview, I’ll be discussing several of the important products and new services that are innovative and have significance in the tech world, and eventually in everyone’s day-to-day world.
Windows 10 brings the desktop and Start Menu back. Still has touchscreen mode from 8 as an option
This is huge. Microsoft recognized their mistakes with Windows 8 – namely thinking that everyone would be using a touchscreen and ignoring their business clients and power users. Windows 10 brings back the Start Menu with a retooled GUI to make searching for items on your computer and cloud services significantly easier. If you actually have a touchscreen, they still have the Windows 8 style touchscreen mode with the tile interface. If you have a touchscreen and disconnect your keyboard and mouse, the operating system recognizes that and prompts whether you want to go into tablet mode, providing seamless switching between the two interfaces.
Windows 10 has universal apps between PCs, tablets, smartphones, and the Xbox One
This one is pretty straight forward: If you are using a Windows app, it will be available on all of their platforms with optimized interfaces. What’s nice about this is they’re claiming developers can program for all devices and compile version that work for each, while keeping the interface similar enough that transitioning should be easier.
Cortana – Your Personal Assistant
Microsoft’s personal assistant application, Cortana, made it’s original debut on Windows 8.1 smartphones. If you are unfamiliar, Cortana is an artificial lifeform from the Halo Franchise voiced by Jen Taylor. Taylor provided lot of recorded content for the 8.1 application, leaving only the customized text synthesized. For the Windows 10 application, Taylor once again provided her talents to make the level of interaction even better.
On the back-end, Cortana has access to the Bing search engine, can set appointments, play music, change settings, and can search for files on your Windows 10 devices and even on the cloud. If you’re paranoid or just want to know what she knows about you, you can view and edit Cortana’s Notebook, which contains her database on you.
Cortana may sound a bit inconsequential to most people, but having Cortana on all your Windows devices could actually be very useful and convenient. Much like Amazon’s Echo, Cortana could make your home controllable by voice commands. I have anywhere from 5 to 8 PCs in my house at any given time. I also have a ton of microphones and computers hooked up through speakers. If I want to have one of these computers play music or turn on a live stream while I’m getting ready for work, Cortana can do that. I suppose my phone could do the same, but then I’d have to get it out, and at that point, I might as well just open up the app and do it myself.
Free Upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users for the 1st year
There’s really not much to say to this, other than this is a great PR move to get people onboard for Windows 10. Within the first year of Windows 10 launching, if you own Windows 7 or Windows 8, you can upgrade for free. No additional details were provided, but it will probably roll through as a complete OS upgrade through the Microsoft Store.
HoloLens – Holographic Augmented Reality.. Holy Star Trek they made that look amazing
In case you can’t tell by our logo or my usual articles, but I am a huge fan of Star Trek (and not any of that JJ Abrams Star Wars knock-off crap). One thing that always captivated me from The Next Generation, DS9, & Voyager was the Holodeck. Well, if you got a chance to watch the Windows 10 event, Microsoft announced Windows Holographic and showed off their HoloLens – a cable-free augmented reality display that is stated to be available within “the Windows 10 time-frame”. Just watch the video below if you haven’t seen what the possibilities with this are.
Honorable Mention: Microsoft Surface Hub
Microsoft announced and demoed the Surface Hub – an 84-inch 4K touchscreen office computer. This gigantic touchscreen PC is geared towards meetings and projects and has cameras, mics, speakers, Wifi, Bluetooth, NFC, and even sports a stylus that knows when it’s detached. It’s basically a smarter Smartboard.