Next week, on July 29, Microsoft will release Windows 10 for PCs, marking the first step in perhaps the most significant product launch in its history.
The company has promised to put Windows 10 on over a billion devices by 2018, and given the range of devices that the OS will reach, that certain seems feasible: beyond PCs, Windows 10 will make it to smartphones, small tablets, micro-computers, smart displays, set-top boxes, Internet of Things devices, and many other systems, including Microsoft’s own Xbox One console.
During the company’s earnings call today, following the reporting of its latest quarterly financial results earlier, Microsoft gave a hint of the scale of what’s to come with its next-gen OS.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella today referred to the PCs that will go on sale on the new operating system’s launch day next week – we know, for example, that HP will actually begin shipping its first Windows 10 PCs on July 28, one day before the OS officially launches.
But he added that there are also “over 2,000 distinct Windows 10 devices” currently in development around the world, and being tested ahead of their launch in the months ahead.
Indeed, it seems that Windows 10 will get a ‘soft’ launch on the hardware side of things, with only a handful of new devices available on day one. In the weeks that follow, more devices will become available; Acer, for example, will open pre-orders for its Windows 10 PCs on July 29, but shipments will begin in early August.
Microsoft will also “showcase” new Windows 10 devices at the IFA trade show in Berlin in September, which suggests that we’ll be seeing a new wave of Windows hardware going on sale just in time for the holiday season.
Nadella also said today that there are “hundreds of different designs” on the way across the Windows 10 hardware ecosystem. If what we've seen so far is any indication, that may well include some interesting new form factors and device categories.