Today Microsoft held a press conference in which they talked at length about Windows 10, announcing a plethora of new features and expanding on others, such as Cortana, Spartan, and Xbox One streaming. Here’s a brief overview of everything that was discussed.

Windows 10 Will be Free For a Limited Time

That limited time is a whole year, so it’s a pretty generous window. This is only applicable to folks running Windows 7 or higher, but if you do have the required operating system, you’ll be able to claim a free upgrade, which comes with lifetime support. Windows Phone 8.1 users get upgraded, too. No telling yet how things will change after that first year is up, though.

Continuum Provides a Continuous Experience

These days it’s not uncommon for a person’s workload to be spread across a PC, tablet, and their smartphone. While each device is appropriate in its own situation, it can be jarring to continuously jump from one to the other. Microsoft is looking to make that process smoother with a new feature called Continuum, which helps you pick up where you left off, while also bringing their desktop and mobile versions of Windows closer together for a more cooperative experience. All of this should help you stay on task while switching devices or switching configurations on convertible devices.


Cortana is Coming to your Desktop

Cortana has been a thing on Windows Phone for a while, but now she’s making her way to the desktop version of Windows. She’ll reside in your task bar and take voice commands like usual, as well as give you shortcuts to apps as soon as you start typing them in. She’ll also retain information about you, which over time will help her help you. If that seems a little scary to you, know that you can delete whatever information you want, keeping her in the dark.

Universal Apps Will Work on Desktop, Mobile, Xbox, Etc

Microsoft wants to make it as easy as possible for developers to create apps for all of their products, so devs can do just that: write apps that will work on desktop PCs, tablets, phones, and even Xbox. These conversions will be handled much the same way Android handles phone-to-tablet conversions, adjusting the size appropriately while keeping the experience as unified as possible across all devices.

Project Spartan May Warrant Giving Internet Explorer a Second Chance

I can remember being steered away from Internet Explorer as far back as high school. To say that it’s an unpopular browser would be a massive understatement. It’s undergone plenty of changes over the years and, and while it’s seen vast improvements, Microsoft still hasn’t been able to win people back from more popular browsers like Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox. However, they’re looking to do just that with Project Spartan. We’ve heard rumors of Project Spartan and now it’s been officially unveiled as a from-the-ground-up rebooting of Internet Explorer. Features include things like an in-browser notebook that lets you capture and annotate pages, a mode that makes webpages easier to read by stripping away everything but the text, and of course Cortana is built right in.

Improved, Easier-to-Use Apps

The Windows 8 app interface hasn’t been a runaway hit, and Microsoft realizes that, so Windows 10 will feature a suite of apps that are not only tweaked and upgraded over their previous versions, but also easier to use from the desktop. Common and quality apps like Photos, Music, and Maps won’t be new, but they’ll be improved and lot more intuitive to use.

Xbox App Coming to Windows 10 Devices

The Xbox app, which will come pre-loaded on all Windows 10 devices, will let you not only view screenshots, videos, and chat with your Xbox Live friends, but you can also record gameplay video – even games from Steam.

Stream Xbox Games to your Windows 10 PC

Expanding on the gaming side of things, Windows 10 will allow Xbox One users to stream their games to their PC, like a reverse version of Steam’s console streaming. The streaming works via Wi-Fi and, the biggest and arguably most excited feature, some games will allow Xbox One plays to play with PC gamers. Microsoft showed off Fable Legends, but their will no doubt be more games in the future that offer this connectivity.


The 84-inch Surface Hub

If you’ve ever looked at a tablet and thought “this is good, but I want one big enough to cover an entire wall of my house,” Microsoft has you covered with the Surface Hub. Running on Windows 10, it’s 84 inches, has a 4K display, appropriately gigantic speakers, and dual-camera depth sensors so it can sense when you walk up to it. It can also support multiple pens at once. Naturally it’s not intended for home use but rather use in the conference room. There’s no pricing information yet, but expect a very large number. Check out the video above to see it in action.

 The HoloLens Set and Windows Holographic

By far the most ambitious shown at the event is Windows Holographic, Microsoft’s attempt at the world of virtual reality. There are a few things that set Microsoft’s headset apart from the competition: the HoloLens headset is a self-sufficient, self-contained computer. There’s no need to hook it up to anything else, just pop it on and go nuts. The other big thing is the addition of holograms within the Windows Holographic framework. We’ve seen holograms in the form of 2Pac singing at Coachella and doing whatever does in the CNN studio with Wolf Blitzer. Each time it’s bizarre and underwhelming, but by putting holograms into an existing virtual reality world, Microsoft might be onto something. Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick has tried the headset and called it “extraordinary.”


Microsoft insists that the HoloLens will be available within the Windows 10 time frame and will have a price point that makes it available to consumers, not just businesses.

via Lifehacker, Gizmodo, Verge

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