Microsoft previews Windows 10

January 22, 2015 08:31 AM

Microsoft Corp., seeking to use the next version of its Windows software to win back consumers and keep business customers happy, gave a detailed look at the new operating system and took the wraps off a modern Web browser.

In an event to preview Windows 10, the new iteration of its flagship personal-computer software, Microsoft today showed off the browser that will succeed Internet Explorer, code-named Project Spartan. The update to Windows will also bring Cortana, the voice-activated digital assistant, to PC desktops, and will have touch-enabled Office applications such as Word and Excel built-in for smartphones and tablets.

Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella, who took the helm almost a year ago, is trying to resuscitate Windows even as mobile computing continues to surge, PC demand sputters, and Microsoft focuses on versions of its Office applications for rival software platforms. He’s also tasked with revamping the product little more than two years after the last overhaul -- Windows 8 -- failed to jump-start consumer demand while alienating corporate customers.

“A lot of this is really about making a sharper message for consumer,” said Wes Miller, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft. “How do you appease the enterprise while making it a great tablet operating system and not one thing layered on top of another thing?”

Windows Holographic

Microsoft also announced Windows Holographic, and a headset with glasses called HoloLens that will enable users to see holograms while tracking a user’s voice, motion and surroundings. The glasses will be available “in the Windows 10 timeframe,” said Alex Kipman, a technical fellow in Microsoft’s operating system group. The company also showed HoloStudio, software tools for creating holograms, 3-D printing them and sharing them.

The new browser showed today lets users annotate websites using a stylus and touch or mouse and keyboard, and then send and share comments through e-mail and social media.

The company also announced a new device called the Surface Hub, an 84-inch touch-screen computer designed for workplace collaboration that will run Windows 10.

The software maker said it will give free upgrades to Windows 10 to customers with Windows 8.1, Windows 7 and Windows Phone 8.1 for the first year 10 is on sale. Microsoft will start distributing Windows software as a service, keeping customers’ versions up to date and supported, Executive Vice President Terry Myerson said at the event in Redmond, Washington.

“One can reasonably think of Windows as one of the largest Internet services on the planet,” Myerson said. “The question ‘What version are you running?’ will cease to make sense.”

Page 1 of 2
About the Author