Microsoft gathered a bunch of reporters together in its Redmond, Wash., headquarters today to show off the next version of Windows, Windows 10, which is expected to come out later this year.
You can check out our live blog of the event at the bottom of this page, but here were the highlights:
- Holograms. The coolest thing was a set of new products that will let people see holographic images. The hardware is called Microsoft HoloLens and looks a lot like Google Glass. There are also software tools within Windows 10 that will let programmers create apps that use holograms.
- Free upgrade: Windows 10 will be a free upgrade to anybody with Windows 7 or later, for one year. There was also a lot of talk about “Windows as a service,” but that does not mean you’ll pay for a subscription to Windows, like you do with Office 365. It just means Microsoft will push updates to the platform more frequently, and you’ll get them in the background. That’s not really new.
- Gaming: All Windows 10 devices will have an Xbox app that lets you connect to Xbox Live and play games against Xbox One users. You’ll also be able to pause and record games, and stream them from an Xbox One to a Windows 10 device within your home.
- Mobile: This was probably the most lackluster part of the presentation. There will be a version of Windows 10 for smartphones, but it looks and feels a lot like Windows Phone, which has been around for 4 years. The goal, Microsoft says, is to create experiences that span different platforms. So, for example, you’ll be able to start doing a task on your PC than transition to your phone. But Windows Phone has had a hard time gaining market share, and nothing Microsoft said today will change that.
- Developers! Microsoft also talked a lot about Universal apps, which is a new way of building applications that can easily be ported from PCs to mobile and Xbox devices. It’s not quite “write once, run anywhere,” but it’s a lot closer than past versions of Microsoft products. The goal? To convince Microsoft’s large base of Windows PC developers to move their apps over to Microsoft’s newer mobile platforms, which will hopefully close the app gap versus Android and Apple’s iOS.
Here’s the live blog, with a bunch of pictures throughout.
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