Microsoft Windows 10: More than Just a Fixed Operating System?

Article by Chris Price | 669 words

Microsoft is breaking headlines due to its recent announcement of the new Windows 10 operating system. The company claims its new software will have its own improved version of Siri (called “Cortana”) as well as a prototype with the capability of giving its users a holographic experience.

I’m curious as to how accurate Microsoft’s teasers will be when the software exits the technical preview stage and enters the mainstream. The bitter aftertaste of Windows 8 and the continual disappointment of Kinect factor into my reluctance to openly embrace what the company’s offering next.

Windows 10 Features: holoLens and Cortana

Someone claiming to have the power to harness and control augmented reality with glasses and a Windows update should make skeptics of us all. However, the idea of creating a surface acoustic wave system and containing electrical charges to react to touch led to phones that put their predecessors to shame. In the tech world, crazy thoughts have a tendency to become real surprisingly fast. I am skeptical. But in my skepticism, there is some degree of hope that whatever descended to Jobs and Gates in Silicon Valley will come again to someone not yet known.

This concept of controlling an augmented reality is set up on a stool with three legs: holoLens, Windows 10 and Cortana. HoloLens, which has briefly been discussed, is the most interesting of the three. The holographic experience, as seen from Microsoft’s teasers, is one of complete interactivity. Whereas graphs and data on colorful websites have their features, holoLens is an attempt to transform the world into your computer screen.

Microsoft’s videos show users with headgear (bulky, but not intrusive) that projects computer-generated content “on top of” the physical setting the person is in. A kitchen table is still a kitchen table, but with the holoLens, a computer-generated ball could appear to be bouncing on that same surface. The gaming possibilities here are endless. Plus, you can turn any wall into a screen to watch movies or browse the Internet by using the holoLens.

holoLens

Credit: MakeUseOf.com

Microsoft’s newest operating system, Windows 10, is the backing used to create this computer screen world. Although most (forced) Windows 8 users would have sufficed with 10’s return to pre-8 features, including the Start Menu, its interface shows that its developers have more to offer apart from fixing 8’s problems. So far, it seems Windows 10 is successfully blending the point-and-click interface that a mouse provides with the increasingly common touch-screen interface that many devices use. This blend of the past and present can be seen in the new Start Menu, which has familiar pre-8 options on the left and large, touch-friendly tiles to the right.

Windows 10 Start Menu

Credit: Microsoft.com

Although Apple’s Siri offers the best in voice command technology right now, Cortana simply has to improve on it to compete. With only the need to build upon what’s already present, this third leg could set the foundation for the greatest leap forward in human-tech interaction.

Windows 10 Release Date: Coming Soon to a Computer Near You?

Admittedly, I carry with me an irrational blend of cynicism and anxious, childlike faith concerning what’s to come. January 21 was the original announcement and official display of what I’ve mentioned. But a “Coming Soon” banner still covers the update download page.

Between now and “the upcoming months” (according to Microsoft’s site), there will be an invitation for a free upgrade to 10 released by email to those who are registered 8 and 8.1 Windows users as well as to Windows 7 users. The catch is that the free update will be available for only one year, and hardware compatibility will play a factor in whether everyone is able to use Windows 10.

Video: Microsoft Windows 10 Tour in Under 8 Minutes

Windows 10 Technical Preview

The Windows 10 ISO download for the technical preview has been available for quite some time, though. And as this sentence is being written, developers (within Microsoft and without) are working on the transition stage to consumer-ready form.

Whether Microsoft is successful in its most recent attempt to leap ahead of its time with Windows 10 will ultimately be up to consumers in the coming months.

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