Windows 10 - Will it Be Free?
Will Windows 10 fix everything that was wrong with Windows 8? What new features will be in the Next Big Thing from Microsoft? And will you really get Windows 10 for free? Read on for the scoop…
What's Coming in Windows 10?
Microsoft held a 2 hour, 15 minute press conference on January 21 to tell the eager world everything it wanted to know about Windows 10… except when the next-generation operating system will be released. “Later this year” remains the official estimate.
The release date of Windows 10 may be vague because there are so many cooks in the kitchen. About 1.7 million people have downloaded the Win 10 developer preview and generated 800,000 bits of feedback on 200,000 topics, according to the company. That many suggestions will confuse any development effort even if none of them end up in the final product.
But it’s likely that a lot of feedback from developers will find its way into Win 10 because they are the group that will make or break this product. Developers got their Windows 10 infomercial in October; this January show was aimed at consumers. Not enterprise IT managers with their boring focus on management, security, and standardization, but average consumers who want the comfort of the familiar and the excitement of the novel. Here’s what Microsoft promised them:
First, Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for end users who have Windows 7, 8, or 8.1. That offer will stand for one year after the eventual release of Win 10. (Presumably those still running XP or Vista will have to pay to move to Windows 10.) Microsoft hopes to quickly whet developers’ appetites with lots of Windows 10 converts. Also, Windows 10 is the gateway to Microsoft OneDrive, Office 365, and the other components of Nadella’s “cloud-first” mantra.
Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s Siri “personal digital assistant,” will be coming to Windows 10. Actually, Cortana lives in the cloud, interacting with you through all of your connected devices to learn as much as possible about you; just so she can help you better, you understand. On a PC, Cortana will be able to do things she can’t do on a phone, such as open a Powerpoint presentation. But don’t expect perfection; when asked who will win the Super Bowl, Cortana chose Seattle by seventy-eight and a half.
A Seamless Experience Across Devices
On tablets, Windows 10 looks like a scaled-down desktop version. There’s a taskbar, a desktop mode, and all the regular Windows apps, optimized for touchscreens. Task-switching for apps has been improved and the Charms bar is gone, replaced with a Notification Center and quicker access to settings.
Oh, and the Start Menu is back by popular demand, but the Windows 8 Start Screen is also available if you prefer it.
The merging of desktop and handheld user interfaces mirrors Microsoft’s “unified Office” effort. Office 365 will make the same apps and data available on all of your devices. Microsoft ran a Powerpoint presentation on a phone during Tuesday’s event, and said you can print documents wirelessly from a phone or tablet with Windows 10. There are unconfirmed rumors that Windows 10 will have a featured called Continuum, which will allow users to switch between desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphone, picking up right where they left off. (If you have a Kindle, you're familiar with this concept.)
The good news for gamers is that Windows 10 will support streaming any Xbox One game to any PC or tablet. Gamers are no longer tied to the Xbox console; with a tablet, they can fetch their own Cheetos and Dr. Peppers. Two (only two?) players can play a multi-player game with one player on an Xbox One and the other on a PC.
Spartan, Microsoft’s faster, sleeker browser, will join Internet Explorer in Windows 10’s release-to-manufacturing debut, but it won’t be available in phones initially. Its demo was pretty cool, showing off the ability to annotate any Web page with keyboard or stylus and save the results to OneNote. “Reading mode” displays just the text of an article, stripped of images and videos; IE for Windows 8.1 has something similar, and so does Apple’s Safari. Cortana is present in Spartan, making available additional information about items on a Web page.
Windows as a Service?
Terry Myerson, Microsoft's VP of Operating Systems has all but said that after Windows 10, the version numbers will either go away or become irrelevant.
That makes sense to me, and it seems to be an indication that Microsoft is heading in a positive direction with Windows. Bringing back the Start button and giving preference to the familiar desktop interface? Hooray! No more major releases with all the associated headaches and re-learning curves? I like that. Free upgrades from Windows 7 and 8, with no-cost updates for the life of my computer? What's not to like about that?
I'll be keeping you posted on what's coming in Windows 10. My best guess is that it'll be released to consumers in October, just like Windows 7 and 8 were. Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 22 Jan 2015
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Windows 10 - Will it Be Free? (Posted: 22 Jan 2015)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved