Windows 10: Free Upgrades, Spartan Browser & Holographics - InformationWeek

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1/21/2015
05:20 PM
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Windows 10: Free Upgrades, Spartan Browser & Holographics

Microsoft said its developers consulted 1.7 million Windows Insiders, who delivered 800,000 pieces of feedback on more than 200 topics regarding the new OS.

 Windows 10: 7 Predictions Of What's Next
Windows 10: 7 Predictions Of What's Next
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Microsoft executives discussed how a slew of new Windows 10 features will operate across PCs, tablets, laptops and smartphones … and casually announced its foray into holographic technology -- during an event at the company's Redmond, Wash., headquarters on Jan. 21.

It's clear that Microsoft understands its Windows 8 OS was not well received, and it's working to bring a more seamless, personalized computing experience to enterprises and homes. To do this, developers consulted 1.7 million Windows Insiders, who delivered 800,000 pieces of feedback on more than 200 topics regarding the new OS, according to the company.

Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft's operating systems group, kicked off the day's presentations with the news of free upgrades. For the first year that Windows 10 is available, Microsoft will provide a free upgrade to the OS for all devices running Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1, said Myerson. Windows 10 will be available as a service, and Microsoft will keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device it's running on.

Windows 10 offers Windows 7 fans a more familiar experience than Windows 8 did. In addition to a new notifications bar, users will be happy to see the return of the Start menu, which is available in the traditionally small view, or in full-screen view.

[10 Real Reasons Microsoft Skipped Windows 9]

The new Continuum interface will provide a single platform across all devices and is designed to allow users to seamlessly transition from tablet to PC mode by attaching the keyboard and mouse.

Additionally, Windows 10 PCs will live-sync with Windows 10 mobile devices. The universal app platform offers the "mobility of experience" for users; all apps will perform similarly no matter which Windows device is being used.

Cortana played a major role at the Jan. 21 event. Microsoft's spoken-voice competitor to Apple's Siri will join the Windows 10 desktop with new features that enhance PC functionality. Cortana can search within a device's hard drive for specific documents, send emails, play or pause music automatically, and display notifications or photos.

The mobile version of Windows 10 features customized background images, grouped app lists, and additional features to the Action Center. Users can sync notifications for desktops and PCs, adjust the keyboard size to type with one hand, or speak to type. As predicted, the Windows 10 mobile OS will feature mobile-enhanced versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook. The universal touch-first apps will also be available across devices.

Microsoft also confirmed the development of a new browser, code-named Project Spartan, which will be available for PCs and mobile devices. Features include an enhanced note-taking mode in which users can write on webpages then save and share them, a reading list that becomes part of the core browsing experience on all devices, and Cortana.

Gamers will be happy to know that Microsoft is also taking steps to make games more personal and social. The new Xbox app for Windows 10 will let gamers stream and play games on PCs, as well as save and share video clips from game-play.

Microsoft saved two big surprises for the end of its event. The first, Microsoft Surface Hub, is an 84-inch display that lends itself to meetings and brainstorming sessions. The multi-functional touch screen is designed to allow users to connect with remote team members, move and mark screen content, and share meeting notes with participants.

[Office 365 is getting an upgrade: Microsoft Buys Equivio]

The second, and arguably most exciting of the day's announcements, is "Windows Holographic," a project intended to deliver holographic computing through Windows 10.

Using the see-through high-definition Microsoft HoloLens headgear, users can interact with holograms surrounding them. The gear contains advanced sensors to capture environmental details, high-end CPU and GPU, and HPU (holographic processing unit). The holographic chip understands the wearer's movements and voice, and displays holograms in midair or on physical objects.

"We invented the most advanced holographic computer the world has ever seen," said Alex Kipman, technical fellow in Microsoft's operating systems group and head of Windows Holographic. Users can interact with the Windows 10 HoloStudio app to create 3D objects by means of voice and motion.

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Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
1/27/2015 | 2:52:16 AM
Re: Spartan
This is evolution of technology and should not be stopped by the fear of crooks and to beat them the security think tanks have to come up with some more intelligent solution because captcha has already served them for quite some time now.
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
1/27/2015 | 2:47:13 AM
Re: holographics
As not only Microsoft but all other companies 3with multiple technology products are integrating their all their products for quite some time now so we can expect that the support of holographic will also be available for tablets but not sure about smartphones.
moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
1/24/2015 | 8:53:37 AM
Windows as a service
The most interesting announcement was "Windows as a service". Still trying to find details as to what Microsoft means with that, but my guess is that it will work as any other "as a service" offerings. Instead of paying for a one time license fee and having the right to use the software indefinitely the charges will come monthly and in the end everyone will pay more money than with a one time license model. Even if each Windows as a service account will be charged 5$ a month it will be 60$ a year, after a bit more than two years everyone will be paying more than before and keep paying. It will also be no longer possible to cling to trusted old versions that do the job well (as XP, Win 7 are). Microsoft will stuff new things into Windows as a service and make changes and as a user you either like them or you don't. And if you don't, good luck switching to a different OS or rolling back.

On a different topic, a better browser from Microsoft is more than welcome. IE11 just stinks, but the decision to keep IE11 is horrible. Offer it as an extra download for free, but otherwise please put this utterly dysfunctional standards ignoring piece of software junk out of its misery...and make users happy at the same time. That will also be the kick in the pants for all those who insist on using IE-only browser based apps to finally move away from that dead end.
zaious
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zaious,
User Rank: Ninja
1/22/2015 | 1:42:35 PM
Re: Spartan
That would be an interestign feature. Then, 'captcha's will be even easier to brek for the crooks. 
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
1/22/2015 | 1:34:46 PM
Spartan
I wish they would include an option to copy lines of text in a photograph in the new Spartan browser. Would really help citing all the information lying around the web.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
1/22/2015 | 1:24:41 PM
Re: holographics
Maybe Microsoft will incorporate the holographic technology to their tablets and the Lumia series of smartphones? They'll win a lot of design awards and certainly win a majority of sales if they are able to do the same. 
mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
1/21/2015 | 11:37:00 PM
Re: holographics
Here it is the official video. Pretty amazing.

Never heard of HPU (holographic processing unit). Time to do some research.

 

 
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
1/21/2015 | 6:19:45 PM
holographics
Microsoft's holographic technology is intriguing. But I wonder if it will actually prove appealing for general computer use. Sure, there are applications where it would work well, but I suspect it will remain a specialty peripheral, like a drawing pad.
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