Microsoft’s Terry Myerson just announced that the next version of Windows will be called Windows 10 — not Windows 9 like many had expected.
Windows 10 will be designed to work on all form factors: smartphones, tablets, and laptops. It’s being billed as one platform for all mediums, and it will come with one universal app store for all devices. This means Windows 10 will be the next iteration of Windows Phone too.
Starting tomorrow, Microsoft is launching its “insider” program, which will let people test the technical preview of Windows 10. A Consumer Preview version of Windows 10 will be coming early next year, while the final build will launch in mid-2015.
Enterprises will be getting an early look at Windows 10 before the public, so that large companies can get used to the new software before it launches. IT managers will be able to easily manage all types of Windows 10 devices, and can even customise internal app stores so that employees will be able to use apps approved by the company.
Here’s a look at the features we can expect to see in Windows 10:
Return of the classic desktop and Start menu. Windows 10 will come with a classic looking desktop, which should please Windows fans that miss Windows 7 (shown above). This means there will be a Start menu, too, although it looks a bit different than the menu we’re used to. As previous leaks had indicated, the Start menu looks like a hybrid of a standard menu and the tiled Windows 8 interface.
Continuum. Microsoft is adding a new feature called Continuum that allows the operating system to adapt based on what type of device you’re using. For example, if you’re using a mouse and keyboard you’ll get the standard desktop view. But if you’re using a Windows tablet hybrid, you’ll switch to “tablet mode” once you disconnect the keyboard. Here’s what it looks like:
Apps will run on the desktop. Windows 8 apps, which were initially designed for touch, will now work with the mouse and keyboard and will run in the desktop. Microsoft is clearly making its software more PC-friendly.
Better multitasking. There’s a new “task view” button on the task bar that lets you easily switch between apps. Here’s what it looks like:
An improved Snap feature. With Windows 10, you’ll be able to snap multiple apps alongside one another. Based on Microsoft’s demo, it looks like you can snap more apps together than you could before with previous versions of Windows.
It’s important to keep in mind that this is a very early version of Windows 10, so there may be some changes before the final software becomes available.
More to come…