This week Microsoft will unveil the latest changes in Windows 10 during the press event that will take place at Redmond Washington, and the expectations are high. After the Windows 8 fiasco, Windows 10 have to prove it is worth the upgrade, not only for Windows 8.x users, but also mainly for Windows 7 users.
The biggest challenge for Microsoft is that the new operating system has to be (absolutely) great for consumers and businesses alike, as they both are different customer bases. On one side, we have the consumer market that has become accustom to fast changes and it is moving toward smaller screens (mobile). And on the other side, we have the enterprises that only want to run business applications with a familiar user interface to prevent higher cost on deployment and learning curve.
While the Windows 10 Technical Preview was primarily focus on enterprise customers with the introduction of new features like the new Start menu, virtual desktops, and modern apps running side-by-side on the desktop. The January Technical Preview of Windows 10 will focus on consumer features, for those who embrace rapid releases and use multiple devices.
Here are the most important things we will hear from Microsoft this week:
We have many form factor devices and only one Windows 10, and this could easily turn out to be a problem for hybrid devices like the Lenovo’s Yoga and Surface Pro 3. They are devices that can easily work as a traditional PC or tablet, and an operating system optimized for mouse and keyboard can easily put productivity at risk when using touch.
When Microsoft first introduced Windows 10 Technical Preview, the company showed off a new feature called Continuum that dynamically transforms elements on the screen to adapt the operating system to work well with and without a keyboard and mouse.
Last fall, we only watched a concept video of Continuum, but this week we will probably see a working version of the feature.
While we have seen evidence of Cortana in the early previews of Windows 10, the digital assistant may now appear working in the next build adding a new powerful functionality to the operating system.
Internet Explorer (Spartan)
Nothing official has been announced, but Microsoft may also show off its new web browser for Windows 10 codenamed Spartan. The new web browser will not be part of the operating system like Internet Explorer, instead it will be an app available for all versions of Windows 10. It’ll feature Cortana as we see it today in Windows Phone, and it will reportedly support extensions like in Google Chrome and Firefox.
As OneDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage solution, becomes more integrated into Windows 10, the experience needs to be updated. As such, we’re expecting Microsoft to talk about its plan to unify all three OneDrive sync engine into one later this year.
Windows 10 on new OEM devices
With the release of Surface tablets, Microsoft is now directly competing with OEM partners, but this will not stop PC manufacturers from creating new devices that run Windows. During the press event on January 21, you can expect Microsoft to demo Windows 10 on new OEM devices.
According to Microsoft, the Xbox platform plays a vital role in the Windows 10 strategy, and we will hear from the software maker the plan on bringing Windows 10 and Xbox One closer together as the console is basically a Windows PC optimized for gaming.
Windows 10 for phones
Even though, Windows Phone has not taken off and the market share still very low, the platform is not dead. Microsoft plans to move forward and during the next press event, the company will demo some of the new features for mobile devices. One of the key feature is that it will share all the Windows code base from the desktop version and it will enable programmers to create the so called Universal apps that can run in both platforms. The new version of Windows 10 for mobile will be a combination of Windows Phone and Windows RT, which will also power small form factor devices (tablets).
Other things Microsoft may talk about
Now that we know the software maker will unveil new details about Windows, the company may address a few topics for the future of the platform.
For example, while consumers are used to rapid releases for all their products, enterprises are not, they tend to roll out changes and upgrades in a much slower pace, and Microsoft has yet to explain how it’ll manage to update Windows 10 for both markets.
As I mentioned above Microsoft is expected to demo the new version of Windows 10 for mobile devices, this includes tablets. As such one of the questions to be answered by the company is the future of Windows RT and if Surface and Surface 2 will upgrade to Windows 10.
Although, we do not expect Microsoft to talk about packaging or pricing, or even an official release date. We are expecting the company to announce when the January preview will be available for Windows Insiders. We may also hear when the company plans to release a preview version of Windows 10 Mobile.
If you’re curious on what’s next for Windows 10, Microsoft will stream live the January 21 press event — here are all the details. The company will also talk about a bunch of new consumer features for the operating system and here is the a comprehensive list of what those features may be.
Update: There is more a lot more Microsoft will talk about during its press event:
- Microsoft Spartan will implement Chrome extension support
- Microsoft to release touch-first preview of Office for Windows 10 in February
- Windows 10 mobile preview will release on February