Microsoft has announced some more features for Windows 10, its next step in creating one platform for all form factors.
The event was less low key than the last one, which took place in a small conference hall in San Francisco. The event also brought more information on Windows 10, including the fact Windows 8.1 users will get it for free, and Windows 7 users for the first year.
Windows 10 will be a fully cross-compatible operating system, working on PC, mobile and tablet. Microsoft even hinted Windows was just a “service”, potentially pointing to reskinned versions of the OS on Android and other platforms—this was not announced at the event however.
Microsoft has added Cortana to Windows 10 and the virtual assistant can do a lot more, including understand hashtags, show local events and answer queries more effectively. Microsoft has re-added the Start Menu, and users can drag it out to full-screen, basically swapping the Metro UI for the Start Menu.
There have been many changes to applications on Windows 10, including updates to Calendar, Photos, Outlook, Office, Music, Xbox and a new People app, a sort-of social network. Microsoft did not go into detail about the People app, but did announce Xbox One will get these updates; gamers will now be able to stream to Windows 10 PCs and tablets.
Internet Explorer has been dropped in favor of Project Spartan, a new web browser with a new rendering engine. Microsoft did not go into detail about the rendering engine, but here’s hoping more open source features are added. Spartan feature annotations, Cortana and reading lists.
Surface Hub is a new 84-inch 4K all-in-one computer for enterprise, and features Skype video conferences and presentations. Microsoft also unveiled Windows Holographic with HoloLens headset, their own virtual reality headset with no focus on games.