Last week at a private event in San Francisco, Microsoft announced the next version of their desktop OS (operating system). The name, catching all off guard is skipping 9 and going straight to Windows 10. Not only will 10 be the next version of Windows for PCs and tablets – but also their phones too, currently running the separate OS Windows Phone.
Windows 8 attempted to bring PCs and tablets together with a unified touch-friendly design which was met with severe criticism amongst traditional keyboard and mouse users. With Windows 10, Microsoft has rethought this approach. The same system will run across their devices with the user interface changing depending on what control inputs are available. On a non-touch laptop, an updated version of the old Start menu will help you navigate. On tablets you will still have the full Start screen which Windows 8 introduced and on hybrid devices when the keyboard/mouse is accessible, you will get a smaller Start menu and when in touch mode the more finger friendly Start screen appears in its place.
Microsoft is also promising a single store that all Windows 10 devices will be able to access, regardless if you have a PC, tablet or Phone. In theory you would only have to purchase the one app that will run on all these devices instead of having separate apps for phones, tablets and PCs.
Windows 10 is also boasting better multi-tasking chops for its power users. The snap feature has been expanded so when a window is snapped to one side of the screen, suggestions appear as to what you can snap to next to it. In addition multiple virtual desktops will now be available as standard so you can switch between different desktop layouts for heavy multi-tasking.
The reasoning for the name Windows 10 may be to distance it from Windows 8 in the public eye, which was not the success Microsoft must have been hoping for. The interesting thing here is that from what we have seen of 10 so far, it has a lot in common with what 8 is and what that version was trying to achieve; one OS and interface across different types of devices. Perhaps the naming then suggests Microsoft believes that what let Windows 8 down was not its premise but the delivery and marketing, believing their original intentions were good but very much misunderstood.
Feedback coming out of the announcement of Windows 10 has been very positive, so perhaps there was method to the naming madness? Naming aside, Windows 10 does look to deliver a much more intuitive desktop experience and even brings more options to power users without losing the touch friendly advantages and the new Microsoft ecosystem Windows 8 established. Windows 10 launches late 2015 and we will learn a lot more of its new features coming up to the time of release. So far, Microsoft has put its best foot forwards – its aim here is to convince the 100 million+ Windows 7 owners that Windows 10 is the upgrade they have been waiting for.