Widely expected to be an announcement of a fresh Windows version, today Microsoft held an event that wasn’t available online. Not having this event streamed online was a disappointment. I have the sense that Microsoft was aware of the Apple iPhone event debacle and decided to forgo the pain (if the stream didn’t work). In that way, it’s a good move.
The next version of Windows is going to name 10. Windows 10 forgoes the next logical number (that would have been 9), for a more significant sounding 10. The name makes some sense considering that Windows 9 and “Windows 95” would have been pretty darned similar. The trouble here, though, is that many consider even-numbered Windows versions to be duds and skip that version altogether.
The full screen tiled interface of Windows 8 is a failure. Windows 10 heralds the return of the Start Menu and the things we’ve come to expect from that start menu. With this reversion back to the old-style Windows, Microsoft has added the “Metro Apps” (now called Universal Apps?) to the right of the Start Menu in an effort to still reuse the Windows 8 App Store apps. The emphasis here is clearly on bringing the desktop experience back to the forefront.
I expected the full-screen tiles of Windows 8 to be completely banished from Windows 10. But, the way Windows 10 implements this will be to detect if the computer is touch-based and then use a modified start screen that includes a taskbar at the bottom. What criteria Windows uses for this, and if the setting can be changed will be a topic of conversation by others no doubt.
The Windows Charm bar is still in Windows 10. Hidden as it always was, it will probably be a useful feature still for touch users. The phone-based version of Windows (also called Windows 10) will still not include a desktop.
Win10 includes a new task view interface that continues to add more to what was classically the ALT+TAB functionality of Windows. Another big new feature of Win10 has to be the very Linux-like Multiple desktops. If that feature has a rich set of options, this could be a real winner with power users. The command prompt now supports CTRL+V, which is very cool.
What’s clear is Microsoft is trying to make Windows work for all devices, everywhere. Given the range of form factors, Microsoft clearly has relented on the “one size fits all” approach.
There’s a beta of Windows 10 available to download. The build number at the event was 9841. Windows 10 is expected to ship in late 2015. No details on pricing, upgrade pricing or SKUs were announced.