News by Luke Jones on Tuesday September 30, 2014.
|Sponsored links, if any, appear in green.|
Forget about all this talk of Windows 9, Microsoft chose an intimate event today to unleash the newest version of its desktop platform, Windows 10. Yes, the company chose to skip a number, but this is the brand new version that the company hopes will not only carry its computing to the next level, but also its mobile devices such as Lumia smartphones and Surface tablets.In fact, Microsoft's latest operating system will be uniform across all devices and all form factors eventually, meaning the experience will be more or less the same whether you are rocking a 5-inch smartphone or a 27-inch all in one PC. The company is calling it "one tailored experience" although I am not sure how the company will nail making the OS uniform across different form factors, or more to the point whether it can strike a balance of functionality across different platforms. Microsoft showed off a beta version of the platform in front of a small crowd today and the company got all corporate speak on us about the goal of Windows 10. It said that Windows 10 brings the familiarity of Windows 7 with the functionality of Windows 8, which in other words means that it strayed too far away from Windows 7 and what people like for the 8th version. So, early calls that this is the OS that Windows 8 should have been seem reasonable, at least at first glance. The removal of the Start Menu in Windows 8 was seen as sacrilege, and while it made a return for 8.1 (sort of) it seemed like a half assed attempt. Make no mistake, the very visible and immediate presence of a Start Menu here is Microsoft caving to public demand, although the company is not quite ready to throw its own vision away just yet. So, the love them or hate them live tiles from the Metro layout are alive and present, but now they appear in the Start Menu. This is clearly Microsoft trying to give people the best of both worlds, but I cannot help but think that most will just completely ignore Metro... nothing new there then. Microsoft is trying to make the Start Menu more dynamic than it has ever been, allowing the user the ability to expand it, resize tiles, and even extend the menu beyond the monitor for left/right scrolling. These are all tile Metro motifs and who knows, they may catch on, but I get the feeling the public en masse has already voiced its opinion on this. Luckily, it is more of an added option on Windows 10 than the forced new interface it was on Windows 8. Microsoft learned its lesson and has not gone for a radical new design direction here, this is Windows as you knew it on Windows 7 and as you probably remember it on Windows 2000 and older if you are of that vintage. Obviously things are slicker, newer, more modern, but ultimately this is the platform we all grew up loving, or indeed hating. Apps seem to be dynamic, at least the ones Microsoft showed off today such as Mail, with these apps adjusting to the specific screen size of the device they are being used on. This is going to be the key feature of this operating system as it is meant to be able to easily adjust between form factors, moving from desktop to smartphone or tablet and function in exactly the same manner. That of course means that Windows 10 as we see it here will be the same software that we see on Microsoft's and other manufacturers Windows Phone devices in the future. Of course, Microsoft will make some mobile specific adjustments, but the company did not explain what they would be at the event. That explains why Microsoft is eager to change the mobile platform from Windows Phone to just Windows. This was clearly an early version of the system shown today, with Microsoft saying that the OS will not be available until the end of 2015. Yes, that?s a whole year away, so I imagine somethings will change, some will improve, and some will be scrapped altogether between now and then. As I wrote earlier today, Microsoft will give a more thorough demo of Windows 10 at its Build developer conference in April of next year.
Luke Jones is the Managing Editor at MobileBurn.com and is the person you need to speak to about the content on the site. Luke studied creative writing at degree level before carving out a reputation as a freelance tech writer. He settled here at MobileBurn, where he reviews devices and contributes to the news, as well as overseeing the site's content and direction.