This week saw the unveiling of the Windows 10 operating system (OS) by Microsoft. With so many PCs in existence and still a huge number being bought, this is big news. But is Windows 10 any good, and what are the features and keys to its success?
Why change Windows 8? Only 10% of computers are running Windows 8, so adoption has been slow – its emphasis was touch-screen which is a tough-sell for every day PC computing. And with tech in the 21st century, there needs to be excitement around the features and Windows 8 just didn’t capture the attention. This had an impact on development engagement which is crucial to any OS’s success.
What happened to Windows 9? Microsoft’s current operating system is called Windows 8 and the new one is Windows 10, so what happened to Windows 9? Feels like a marketing decision to me, as the company chose 10 ‘to emphasise a shift in focus towards mobile devices and the internet’.
What are the new features? Firstly, Microsoft have announced that the upgrade to 10 is free of charge from Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows Phone. This is a smart move and should encourage people to take the plunge, and soften the blow of having to learn a new Windows system.
As I mentioned earlier, new technology without excitement is not going to engage, but the boffins as Microsoft have been busy. The heavily-advertised Cortana personal assistant system will be moving from mobile to PC which I think is very interesting. I don’t think there is any chance of voice replacing typing and clicking (it is so much slower!), but being able to make a quick note or addition to your calendar at the touch of a button is a nice feature.
As well as being able to use the same OS on all devices (PC, tablet, mobile and X-Box), you will be able to play your X-Box games on any other Windows 10 tablet or PC – although there is a large community of gamers who would say why not play a PC game on a PC for a better experience?
But the most exciting feature by far is the HoloLens headset. Wearables are going to be huge this year and moving forward, and HoloLens takes them to the next level. When wearing the headset, the user will see a projected hologram integrating with the world around them. Very exciting!
Any improvements to Internet Explorer? Yes, because Internet Explorer is dead! The much maligned browser is finally being put out of its misery and is being replaced by a browser which at the moment is called Project Spartan. It will have Cortana deeply integrated and has a ‘noting mode’ which allows users to scribble on a web page and send it to a contact. Some would argue that the only way is up from IE, and more Spartan features will be released in due course.
Will it work? This is the (multi) billion dollar question. Will it help to kick-start the fight-back for Windows devices? Well, the initial signs are positive: Microsoft are actively encouraging adoption and have show-cased some pretty exciting features.
The two key questions, however, are can Microsoft deliver on these exciting features and will developers get engaged with Windows 10 – two yes answers will mean Windows 10 will be one to watch in 2015.