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Windows as a service and mobility of experience were the major keywords from the recent Windows 10 briefing. Most importantly, Windows 10 will be free Subscribe to Windows 10? Microsoft Evaluates Alternative Payment Models For Their Products Subscribe to Windows 10? Microsoft Evaluates Alternative Payment Models For Their Products In the summer, it was rumored that Windows 10 might be free. Recently, Microsoft's Kevin Turner made comments about monetising Windows differently and that services would be involved. Microsoft is changing its business model. Read More , if you uprade from Windows 7, 8.1, or Windows Phone 8.1 within one year of the final release.

When you upgrade to Windows 10, you will have access to a continuous stream of innovation, including Cortana, universal apps, and a seamless experience between devices. And if you so desire, you can enjoy Windows 10 on novel devices, like the Surface Hub or the HoloLens. Microsoft is boldly stepping into the future with innovative software and hardware Stop Bashing Microsoft: 5 Ways In Which They're Awesome Stop Bashing Microsoft: 5 Ways In Which They're Awesome Microsoft doesn't always get fair treatment. When it comes down to it, they're a pretty awesome company. There's been enough Microsoft bashing, now it's time for some love. Read More .

Windows 10 Availability

Windows 10 Designed Around Three Key Areas

In his introduction Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Operating Systems, went over the prospect of Windows 10, what it will be and how it came to be. He explained that Microsoft identified three key areas for innovation that will improve people’s lives by creating more personal computing:

  • mobility of experience across an increasing number of devices
  • trust, putting people in control of their privacy because they are the customer, not the product
  • natural interactions via voice, pen, gestures, and gaze in an intuitive way

Windows 10 Will Be Free

More specifically, Windows 10 will be free for current users of Windows 7, 8.1, Windows Phone 8.1, and most probably Windows RT, too.

Myerson prefaced this announcement with stating how fragmented the current Windows landscape is and how Microsoft has put effort into upgrading as many people as possible to Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 SP1, as seamlessly as possible. According to Myerson, this was done to create a large up-to-date customer base for developers.

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Once a device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will be keeping it current for the supported lifetime of the device. (…) With Windows 10, we think of Windows as a service. – Terry Myerson

Before Joe Belfiore presented new Windows 10 features on the desktop and phone, he stressed that these were early builds and glitches were to be expected. Fortunately, both the demonstrated apps and Windows 10 made a very smooth and stable appearance. He also pointed out that new features would appear in Windows 10 over the next three to five months.

Personal Digital Assistant Cortana Comes To The Desktop

Microsoft’s personal digital assistant Cortana will finally appear on the desktop Discover Cortana On Windows 10 - Her Hiding Places Revealed! Discover Cortana On Windows 10 - Her Hiding Places Revealed! Cortana, Microsoft's voice controlled personal assistant, has been starting to show up on Windows 10. This article reveals her hiding places. It looks like she will come out to play very soon. Read More . She speaks 7 languages, can do impersonations, and is empowerd by the Bing engine to equip you with the collected knowlege of humanity.

Belfiore demonstrated Cortana’s abilities Geek Humor Included! Meet Cortana, Windows Phone 8.1 Digital Assistant Geek Humor Included! Meet Cortana, Windows Phone 8.1 Digital Assistant Cortana is the best reason to upgrade your Windows Phone early. Microsoft's answer to Siri offers great features and will make you laugh. Read More with casual conversations, showing how she can help you get things done on the PC, including searching files across the computer and OneDrive. Not only can Cortana be instructed by voice, she also understands typing commands. As Cortana learns about you How Cortana Became The "Other Woman" In My Life How Cortana Became The "Other Woman" In My Life She appeared one day and changed my life. She knows exactly what I need and has a wicked sense of humour. It's little wonder that I've fallen for the charms of Cortana. Read More , information is stored in her notebook, which you can access and edit, just like on Windows Phone.

Cortana will roll out over the coming months.

Universal Apps Enable Mobility Of Experience

The big deal about Windows 10 is that it will be a single operating system, across multiple device platforms. This adds some challenges, mainly how apps will transfer from one type of device to another. Microsoft’s solution is called universal apps. They are promising a wide range of apps that will create a pleasant experience on phones, small tablets, and PCs.

Some key universal apps were demonstrated during the briefing:

  • Word & PowerPoint from the Office universal app, which will be included in Windows 10 on phones and small tablets
  • Outlook Mail and Calendar will come with a full word engine, supporting the Lorem Ipsum function
  • Photos will aggregate your pictures from your computer and OneDrive, remove duplicates, and automatically enhance them, and create albums based on time, place, or people in a series of photos; settings can be customized and features can be turned off
  • People aggregates all the people in your network
  • Music Experience will allow you to put your music collection into OneCloud, add a song to your playlist and have it show up on all devices; expected in one to two months
  • Maps Experience will come with Cortana integration to calculate traffic, find alternative routes, give you turn-by-turn directions, and remember where you parked your car
  • Project Spartan, a new Microsoft browser that will change how you interact with content on the web; expected within one to two months; no mention was made of Internet Explorer at all.

Gaming & Entertainment

This was a big part of the presentation and we have summarized the news in a separate article: Here’s How Gaming Will Work With Windows 10 Here's How Gaming Will Work With Windows 10 Here's How Gaming Will Work With Windows 10 With Windows 10, Microsoft is bringing PC gaming and the Xbox One together in a big way. Find out what to expect once Windows 10 arrives. Read More

Windows 10 Cinemagraph Home

To capture how Windows 10 will be used at work and at home, Microsoft used cinemagraphs.

These cinemagraphs inspired us and got as dreaming about more personal computing. – Terry Myerson

Novel Hardware From Microsoft

Windows 10 will support upcoming hardware, including the Microsoft Surface Hub, designed for more productive meetings and brainstormings, and the HoloLens Five Questions About Microsoft's "Project HoloLens" Five Questions About Microsoft's "Project HoloLens" Microsoft's new Augmented Reality headset is very exciting -- but can they solve the fundamental problems of AR? Read More , which will enable holographic experiences, similar to Google Glass. Expect to hear more about these devices as they are released.

When Will Windows 10 Be Available?

You can join the Windows Insider program to download, install, and test the Technical Preview 3 Easy Ways To Install Windows 10 Technical Preview 3 Easy Ways To Install Windows 10 Technical Preview You can try Windows 10 Technical Preview for free and help Microsoft polish its new flagship operating system. Before you install it, make sure you choose the best method for your needs. Read More right away. This will make you part of the 1.7 million insiders currently evaluating and shaping Windows 10 with their feedback Want New Windows Features? Share Your Ideas With Microsoft & Vote Want New Windows Features? Share Your Ideas With Microsoft & Vote Microsoft wants to know what you would like Windows to look like! Propose and review Windows features to shape the next version of Windows. Read More .

Windows Insider Program Numbers

The new preview build for the desktop will be released next week. The first preview build for phones and tablets will follow in early February. The final release of Windows 10 What's In Store For Windows 10 In 2015? What's In Store For Windows 10 In 2015? 2015 will be Microsoft's last chance to win businesses and consumers back. Here's what happened with Windows 10 in 2014 and the milestones you can look forward to in 2015. Read More is expected in late summer to early fall this year.

While Continuum was only mentioned briefly, the entire briefing demonstrated how core this feature is to Windows 10. You can watch the webcast of the entire briefing and access further information online.

What stood out  most to you from the Windows 10 news briefing? Which apps and features are you  most looking forward to using?

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