Microsoft’s next major operating system update isn’t just your typical upgrade, it’ll come with a host of changes that will make it either useless or renders users speechless. The Redmond-based software giant made some mistakes with Windows 8, and Windows 10 is its chance to rectify these mistakes. Without dwelling too much on the past, lets just take a look at what Windows 10 will offer.
It’s a free upgrade (sort of)
Prior releases of Windows always had price tags on them, but Windows 10 is a different story. Users will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 without having to pay for it—initially. Convenient? Yes, but keep in mind that Microsoft is reworking its business model to keep up with competitors. Apple has been offering free upgrades to Mac OS X users in the last few major OS updates, resulting in an even stronger cult-like following.
Microsoft, however, isn’t giving away Windows 10 for ‘free’. Yes, it’s a free upgrade, but after a year people will likely have to fork over a sum to keep their machines decked out with Windows. We’re not quite sure whether or not it’ll be a one time lump sum or a subscription basis, but as it stands people will have access to Windows 10 for a whole year without having to spend a dime.
Windows users rejoice! The task bar we know is back (and improved)
For the most part, the Windows experience remained very static—with every upgrades incremental enough so that people don’t feel completely lost when they load up a brand new OS. That all changed—for better and for worse—when Windows 8 was released. Being Microsoft’s first real venture in a touch-centric OS, Windows 8 became a very interesting soup. The software maker was stuck in limbo, you could say. It didn’t know whether or not to focus on desktop PCs without touch capabilities or go full steam with developing an OS for touch exclusively.
When users upgraded to Windows 8 from prior versions, they were confused. The UI was revamped to the point where people didn’t know how to navigate to their desired targets. The task bar was discombobulated, and some people didn’t even know how to turn off their devices. Some may say the media over-exaggerated the fact fact that new Windows 8 users were “lost”, but truth be told many users were certainly frusterated with the loss of the Windows Menu.
Bye bye Internet Explorer
That’s right folks, IE will officially be dead in Windows 10. The new surfing warrior to take its place is still in the works, but from what we know its codename is “Sparta.” While we don’t know too much about the IE replacement, we’re hoping it will bring a better, and faster, browsing experience to former IE users.
Then there’s the whole hub bub about “universal apps.” It’s widely known that Microsoft is still struggling to attract users to its mobile OS. Apple and Android currently own about 90% of the mobile market, and it’ll be a steep climb if Microsoft intends to break that stranglehold. That said, Microsoft has some ammo in its back pocket to make sure mobile users don’t forget the Windows brand. Software such as Outlook, Word and Excel are synonymous with personal computing. So why not turn them into apps that anyone—on any platform—can access. The idea is that people will give Windows a chance if they see values in apps developed by Microsoft, or they’ll integrate into Microsoft’s cloud productivity platform. Either way, Microsoft is rebuilding itself with Windows 10, and it’s leveraging everything available.
Windows 10 will support holographic computing APIs, and this might take augmented reality to a whole new level. Marketing hype? Possibly. But Microsoft has to do this if it wants to show the world that Microsoft is capable of innovating after years of of success in the desktop PC era.
To toot its horn, Microsoft has even put together the HoloLens, which is a proof-of-concept that we can integrated virtual reality into the real world in a meaningful way. There’s probably only a few companies out there that are willing to invest heavily in developing the new holopgrahic processing unit (HPU), so we’re excited to see Windows taking the leap.
Passwords become less meaningful
To the many who dread taking those couple of seconds to type in your password, worry no more. Microsoft will implement a system where people can use their gadgets such as phones and tablets as means of authentication. Basically, if you have a trusted device on you, it’ll serve as the password—because theoretically you’re the only person that can have access to that device.
Windows 8 was an attempt at intermingling the traditional desktop PC with the new-age touchscreen devices but many had trouble doing so or quite frankly, weren’t ready. Thankfully for Microsoft, it has the resources to hit the reset button and refine its approach. Windows 10 is that promising next step for people that are still willing to stand by the operating system that has been dominating the world’s PCs for so long.
Hopefully we’ll see Microsoft deliver on its promises of a viable ecosystem. One in which consumers can attach to without feeling out of place.