Now that Windows 10 has been released and we’ve had a chance to check it out, we can go through what’s new and improved features of the operating system. The new Windows expands on Microsoft’s new universal apps programs looking to appear seamless across various devices. What they have come up with is a OS that has all apps that look similar on whatever device you are using. Cortana is integrated into everything, the ability to turn your PC into your Xbox and even taking steps into virtual reality. While there is a lot to digest from their announcement here are some things you need to know about the new system.
Free for some
While Apple made it OS X free Windows has decided to not jump in with both feet but is definitely in the pool as they are making Windows 10 a free update for owners of Windows 7, 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 for the program’s first year. There are some exceptions but once you have it you get support on Windows 10 for life.
Start from the beginning
The new start menu has some cosmetic changes to icons but when you open up Windows 10’s start menu it looks pretty much like Windows 8.1’s home screen. There is a new Action Center that gives you quick access to various settings. There is also Continuum, which is a feature designed for convertible devices that allows flexibility from keyboard and mouse to a tablet screen.
Microsoft is really pushing this we are the world universal app philosophy so it only makes sense that Windows 10 is for desktops, tablets and smartphones. Each build is tailored to the specific devise but notifications will sync between devices and Skype is said to be able to integrate into the messaging app.
Microsoft’s personal virtual assistant Cortona that was only available on phones will now be making the jump to desktops. On desktops it will live in a search box on the task bar and will be able to answer typed or spoken queries. The kicker, anything it learns on one device will be learned on your other Windows 10 devices.
One Above All
Windows 10 is Microsoft’s first foray into making the Windows experience seamless between all devices and this mindset goes right down to the name as there is now Windows Phone it’s all Windows 10. This philosophy also extends to their apps. A good example is their unified Office in which phone and tablet versions of their Office Suite resemble the desktop version. Items like formatting options are on all devices, recent documents sync between devices making working with all devices easier.
Project Spartan, Prepare for Glory
While the word has been out for a little while now that the oft-disappointing Internet Explorer was going the way of the dinosaur, it has been replaced by a new browser dubbed Project Spartan. The new browser, which makes its debut in Windows 10 features a cleaner browser, some new tricks and again reiterates the Microsoft new universal ethos by integrating with other Microsoft services. It will be able to take input from keyboards or stylus, can format a page like a book and add a page saving feature and Cortana is built into it so you can search and sync to all your devices.
There is a new Xbox app available on Windows 10 devices that brings over Xbox One features like messages, friends list and activity feed and also record your own clips. But the real win here is that you will be able to stream games from your Xbox One to your PC or Tablet enabling you to play games against your friends on their consoles while messaging and chatting.
Microsoft is touting Windows 10 to be the first holographic computing platform through the use of Microsoft’s HoloLens. While it isn’t really holograms, it’s more of just computer images overlayed over the real world; it is still pretty cool to be able to utilize various Windows apps floating in the air. The HoloLens kind of looks like the loved child of a Google Glass and an Oculus Rift but a little cooler. And while it sounds great to think we will all be gesturing madly in the air in front of us looking like maestros conducting an air symphony or swatting at bugs depending on how graceful you are, the true potential of the HoloLens will be in how many developers create software that works with it.
The new Windows 10 looks amazing from first glimpse but so did some past versions of Windows. We will wait til it’s been around for a little while to see if this is really the evolutionary jump they are touting it to be or should they have worked on 9 before jumping to 10.