Microsoft announces Windows 10

Rick Otto

As expected Microsoft announced their next version of Windows today.  One of the surprises is due to Windows 8 being the current version it was expected to be called Windows 9.  Yet Microsoft has decided to name it Windows 10.  According to Microsoft the reason for the jump to double digits is the fact that Windows 10 is such a large update to the operating system.  Microsoft has chosen Windows Threshhold as the codename for the next Windows version.

One of the changes with the next version of Windows 10 is the removal of it's dependency on the "Metro" user interface.  Instead of the UI which has become common on many Microsoft operating systems, it'll switch to a combination of so-called live tiles that are in areas such as the new Start Menu and a classic-style Windows UI.  Microsoft is hoping to use the new operating system across a variety of devices so they are aiming for it to work well for both standard keyboard and mouse users and also with touch users.

Microsoft has said the operating system will run on a broad set of devices with a tailored UI for each device.  Developers will be able to write a universal app, market them in one app store, and allow for them to be installed on a wide variety of devices.  Thanks to Windows 10, the OS and apps will be able to identify the device being used and change the UI mode to suit the device.

Windows Phone will also take features from Windows 10.  It'll match the naming scheme but it won't completely match the experience on a tablet or a desktop.  For example it won't have a desktop.  Microsoft didn't give many details of the next version of Windows Phone but it'll likely match the Windows 10 design in many ways but yet be tailed for the small screen and touch UI of a smartphone.  It's unclear whether a separate Windows Phone OS will be developed that'll in many ways match the look of Windows 10 or if the actual Windows 10 OS will run on Windows Phone devices with a modified UI.

It's clear that Microsoft has learned from their mistakes made with Windows 8.  While it was hoped that Windows 8.1 would appease these users, most users were still unhappy.  Microsoft has clearly done away with many features of Windows 8 and the design is closer to what you'd see with Windows 7.  Microsoft worked hard to build an operating system that contained the elements that users liked from Windows 7.  Yet they tried to integrate some of the forward-thinking features that are present in Windows 8. 

In many ways Microsoft is admitting that they made a mistake with Windows 8.  Even the skip to version 10 is an admission of their mistake.  They worked hard to have the same UI for both tablets and desktops.  They hoped to bridge the two devices and expected devices that could function as both a desktop and a tablet to be a big hit.  Yet that market didn't take off and people weren't happy with Windows 8.  One of Microsoft's biggest ideas with Windows 10 is to once again have the same OS for both tablets and desktops.  The difference this time is the UI will be tailored to each device.  With Windows 10 the Start Menu is a prominent item.  Users missed the Start Menu with the original version of Windows 8.  Yet with Windows 10 the Start Menu has been modernized with the live-tiles serving up information. 

Microsoft didn't talk about the changes expected for their home entertainment devices.  The Xbox 360 and Xbox One also run an OS that in many ways matches the look of Windows 8.  It remains to be seen what plans Microsoft has for the Xbox machines.

Microsoft will be opening up a beta test of Windows 10 to beta testers under it's Windows 10 "Insider Program".  If you are interested in trying the preview build of Windows 10 you can get more information on the Insider Program here.   The final version of the OS is expected to be released in fall 2015. 




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