Probably in a bid to surprise us all, Microsoft announced Windows 10 last night. Not Windows 9, Windows 10. Why they skipped the nine is unclear, but it’ not like this is actually the ninth version of Windows anyway.
The first point of note is that Windows 10 is designed to be an operating system for all three major computing devices. I do of course mean PC, tablets, and phones. It’s not totally clear how that’s going to work right now, but what Microsoft did confirm is that Windows Phones will not have a desktop. Presumably this means Windows tablets will.
Microsoft also admitted that it is focussing on enterprise users first, rather than consumers, which meant that what they showed off was more aimed at the business audience. In fact Microsoft admitted towards the end of its Windows 10 presentation that it won’t be talking about consumer features until early next year. Bummer.
Of course Windows 10 sees the triumphant return of the Start Menu. Microsoft had promised that the Start Menu would be introduced in Windows 8 in a future update, but those have yet to materialise. The Windows 10 Start Menu is the real deal. It’s not the plain Start Menu from Windows 7, nor is it the totally useless start button from Windows 8.1. This is a Start Menu with all the things you’re used to from past versions of Windows with some Live Tile functionality included. The live tiles appear to be customisable and update in real time. The Start Menu itself can also be customised in terms of size, giving you the option to make it tall and thin, or short and wide.
Another point of note that Windows 8 users will love is that none of the Microsoft ‘apps’ will be full screen. This is Windows software and Microsoft is focussing on the Windows aspect. Everything is in a window — as it should be.
We don’t have a set release date for Windows 10 just yet, but presumably it’ll be arriving sometime next year. That’s a long time to wait, and it isn’t clear if it’ll be here within six months or 12. We also don’t know anything and the price of the software itself, or how much it’ll cost existing Windows users to upgrade. Microsoft did say that Windows 10 would work with “he vast majority of devices” but kept quiet on the details. No doubt we’ll be hearing a lot more in the coming months.
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