Today, Microsoft showed off its vision for the future. With Windows 10, Microsoft will be creating a multi-platform OS that will not only be available on PC, but will also unify all of its current product offerings. Although there was some speculation about the events of today, one could not imagine how expansive this new effort for Windows 10 would be. While some may view today's event as mere announcements for products and services, make no mistake, this is how Microsoft is forging a new and exciting future.
As opposed to its previous efforts, Microsoft will adopt a three-pronged strategy. The approach will focus on Windows 10, but Microsoft will attempt to unify its PC, smartphone/tablet, and gaming offerings. Most notable in today's event is Microsoft's new version of Windows for PC. Version 10 will be a free upgrade for those running Windows 7, 8, and 8.1. The latest iteration of the OS offers Continuum, Cortana, Universal Apps, a new browser dubbed Project Spartan, and an updated Xbox app. For those participating in the Windows Insider Program, you should expect to see a new build of Windows 10 in the next week.
Windows 10 will also grace Windows smartphones and be updated from 8.1 to version 10. The OS will be available for devices with screen sizes smaller than eight-inches. Windows 10 will look and feel similar to its predecessors, but will bring new features that will no doubt update the experience. While not much was shown, we did get a glimpse of cosmetic changes like being able to add a custom background image that now sits behind the tiles. As for ease of use improvements, newly installed apps will now be promoted to the top of the apps list, Action Center will now be synced with your PC and the settings menu will be consistent with what you find across all version of Windows 10. Not only did Microsoft improve on the small things, but they also added the ability to answer your incoming notifications from the pull down action menu. You will also be able to position and resize the Word Flow keyboard. Lastly, the messaging application will gain support for IP-based interactions and Skype.
Unlike Windows 10 for the PC, WIndows 10 for smartphones will not be available immediately, but the first public preview for phones will be available sometime in February. Although they did not mention any new Windows Phone devices specifically, they did state that they are working on a new flagship device and it will be released this year.
Lastly, Microsoft will be reinvigorating its gaming strategy for the PC and console. Windows 10 will be coming to the Xbox One and a more robust Xbox app will be available on PC, smartphones, and tablets. Naturally, gaming will be powered behind-the-scenes by DirectX 12. The latest iteration of DirectX will allow games to run faster, perform better, and work more efficiently. This is accomplished by allowing more fine control of CPU and GPU. DirectX 12 will also require less power, meaning better games on mobile devices with longer playing times. Windows 10 will allow seamless cross-platform gameplay via all Windows 10 products. You will also be able to stream Xbox One games to any device. The Xbox app will require a one time setup and will automatically import your games library.
Windows 10 for PC, smaller devices and Xbox are three pillars that will support Microsoft's new strategy for the future. Naturally, these pillars will be aided by Microsoft's other services and software like Office. The new vision will allow Microsoft to pioneer a new era of technology that could include consumer iterations of Surface Hub, Windows Holographic and HoloLens. While these projects clearly show Microsoft's ambitious vision, it is clear that they are forging a new and exciting future, by building a long lasting foundation in the present.