Today, Microsoft has announced the next version of its operating system. Skipping 9, it has been named Windows 10, perhaps because it is a significant leap forward in the company’s plans to implement one platform across all devices. Yes; Windows 10 will run on desktop PCs, touchscreen tablets, smartphones, Xbox, etc.
Microsoft says that this new Windows is being built from the ground-up for a mobile-first, cloud-first world. That is a huge shift in how Microsoft has done things, largely because the company started off and has operated primarily from a desktop PC point of view all its life. From the announcement post:
Windows 10 will run across an incredibly broad set of devices – from the Internet of Things, to servers in enterprise datacenters worldwide. Some of these devices have 4 inch screens – some have 80 inch screens – and some don’t have screens at all. Some of these devices you hold in your hand, others are ten feet away. Some of these devices you primarily use touch/pen, others mouse/keyboard, others controller/gesture – and some devices can switch between input types.
We’re not talking about one UI to rule them all – we’re talking about one product family, with a tailored experience for each device.
So, while Windows 10 is one platform running across several device types, the UI will be customised for each device type. Sounds very interesting. Sounds like the way forward. Hopefully, this will be well implemented. So, what is new in Windows 10? Here are a few:
- The familiar Start menu is back
- Apps from the Windows Store now open in the same format that desktop apps do and can be resized and moved around, and have title bars at the top allowing for maximize, minimize, and close with a click
- There’s a new task-view button on the taskbar for quick switching between open files and quick access to any desktops you create.
- Multiple desktops: Create desktops for different purposes and projects and switch between these desktops easily and pick up where you left off on each desktop.
- File Explorer now displays your recent files and frequently visited folders making for finding files you’ve worked on is easier.
This means that Windows 10 will run on smartphones and replace the “Windows Phone” branding. You already knew that the re-branding had been kicked off earlier. The Nokia Lumia 930, for example, was marketed as “Windows on your phone”. Windows 10 is the next step in that evolution.
There will also be a unified application store for all devices running Windows 10. The OS is expected to rollout middle of 2015.