Last week, Microsoft unveiled a new build for Windows 10. With Windows 10, Microsoft fixes most of the mistakes they made with Windows 8/8.1. But what’s really new?
A lot of desktop users has also complained that Windows 8/8.1 wasn’t desktop friendly – which I completely agree with.
With Windows 10, Microsoft finally brought Start Menu back. The Start Menu works just like it did in Windows 7 which most of the Windows users are familiar with. The new Start Menu brings some new features as well: it has a re-vamped, Metro UI and you can also pin live tiles to the start screen. The Start Menu is just one of the things that Microsoft needed to fix and the company has surely done it with Windows 10.
Microsoft also has a new approach to making Windows usable on tablets called “Continuum”. Continuum on Windows 10 works just like responsive web design – if you’re on a device that has a keyboard, then it will display the traditional start screen and if you’re on a device that doesn’t have a keyboard, such as the Surface Pro 3, it will display a full-sized start screen and apps. Microsoft has taken Continuum a step further: the company lets you switch between desktop and tablet mode from the action center which is pretty useful as well. Continuum makes Windows user-friendly for both desktop and tablet users. It just works.
Importantly in Windows 10 Modern apps can now run on the desktop, just like Win32 apps, which will hopefully significantly increase their usage, which will have a knock-on beneficial effect on Windows Phone app availability.
Windows 10 also brings a couple of features from Windows Phone. The operating system now includes an Action Center. The Action Center on Windows works just like the Action Center on Windows Phone. It also includes quick actions where you can easily toggle different settings. Universal Apps can also take advantage of the Action Center which is pretty useful as well. The Action Center doesn’t display notifications from your Windows Phone. However, according to our sources, you may soon be able to reply to any SMS right from your Windows PC. The Action Center currently doesn’t look and work great in Windows 10. However, as it the latest build of Windows 10 is still an early build, we don’t expect it to be the final design.
Microsoft hasn’t stopped there. The company has added Cortana to Windows 10 with the latest build. It also comes with a ‘Hey Cortana’ hot-word detection feature. Once again, Cortana on Windows works pretty much the same as it does on Windows Phone – you can set reminders, look up things, etc. Microsoft has also redesigned a couple of apps on Windows 10 with Build 9926. The Calculator, Alarms, Sound Recorder, Maps, Photos, Camera apps has been re-designed as well. The apps look much better now, and so far, I love them. It’s also worth mentioning that Microsoft has redesigned the Store app on Windows which is currently in beta.
Windows 10 takes gaming on PC to the next stage. With Windows 10, you can stream Xbox games to your PC – and even, your Windows Phone (soon). Microsoft has included a Xbox app on Windows 10 Build 9926 where you can see your feed and chat with your friends. Xbox integration on Windows is indeed very useful and I personally look forward to the upcoming features on this section of Windows 10. Microsoft has also prepared Windows 10 for the future, with the OS containing the foundations for Hololens, Microsoft’s Augmented Reality glasses which they have called the desktop of the future.
Microsoft has also revealed Spartan – it’s new browser which will ship alongside Internet Explorer in the upcoming build. Spartan is a lightweight browser which comes with a new engine, as well as a new interface. Spartan also comes with OneNote and Cortana integration. With the OneNote integration, users can easily annotate a webpage and share it with others. Cortana on Spartan will help users get information quickly – for example, if you search a flight number on the address bar of Spartan, it will show the current status of that flight right on the taskbar. It is still unconfirmed if Spartan will come with the ability to add extensions/plugins. Recent rumors suggested that Spartan will allow users to install Chrome Extensions as well. Spartan will come with Windows 10 for Phones as well!
As you can already see, there are a handful of features on Windows 10 to talk about. Microsoft has redesigned the taskbar, icons, integrated few of its services such as OneDrive and several other new things. And the best of all, the operating system will be free for Windows 7, 8, 8.1 users (for the first year).
What about Windows 10 for Phones?
Alongside Windows 10, Microsoft also gave us an early look on Windows 10 for Phones. The company is planning to release Windows 10 for Phones to insider in February. The update comes with some amazing features – such as new Office, Photos, Message apps. Windows 10 for Phones also comes with the ability to resize the keyboard on large phones. It also includes a re-designed Settings app. Microsoft hasn’t revealed much about Windows 10 for Phones just yet – however, we expect the company to reveal more details at Build 2015.
Windows 10 is looking amazing so far. The operating system is much better now, and it definitely fixes the mess Microsoft made with Windows 8/8.1. The OS is still in beta – however, the future for Windows is looking amazing to me. I can’t wait to see what Microsoft is going to reveal in the upcoming months.
Great job, Microsoft and the Windows team!
What do you think of Windows 10? Discuss in the comment section below.