Microsoft, today, introduced Windows 10, the successor to Windows 8.x, Windows Phone 8.x and Windows RT. While today’s presentation was aimed solely at the Enterprise, there were nuggets for everyone else as well, especially those who did not like the current version (and probably did not even bother to try it) and its Start Page and tiles.
Indeed, todays presentation showed off changes for the desktop and how Windows will handle the variety of devices. This means figuring out what it is running on and, in the case of tablet/laptop hybrids. If it detects a touch screen, it will default to the Windows 8 style with the Start Page, touch centricity and tiles. If it detects a mouse and keyboard, it defaults to the desktop and the keyboard/mouse centricity. It is something called Continuum and looks rather nice.
The desktop receives a welcome upgrade in the inclusion of the Start Menu with Tiles. The Charms bar, still in the Technical Preview showed at the presentation, is accessible in much the same way. The task manager has a new button on the task bar and the ability to create, manage and use multiple desktops is built in. The feature resembles similar features found in Linux and Mac OS X.
Even the Command window got updated: copy and paste now work IN the window, no need to use an inconvenient context menu.
Windows 8 Style apps can now run in windows right on the desktop, which, for some, increases their usefulness. The Start Menu is both old and new and incorporates a pared down Start Page. Part of it is the old style menu, the other half is the pared down start page. A nice compromise.
Another interesting thing Microsoft has done is enhance the Windows 7 Snap feature. Previously, you could drag a window to the right side and snap it in place and then drag another to the left and snap it. Now, from the new task list, you snap up to four windows, certainly something a power user or developer will welcome.
Terry Myerson and Joe Belfiore stuck around for questions after the presentation. Among the questions asked was what this does to Windows RT and Windows Phone. The answer was that Windows 10 would be available to the majority of devices running Windows. Previously, they had said it would, in fact, run on ARM based devices…which includes Windows RT tablets. Now, recently, it was revealed that the majority of Tablets are, in fact, RT. So, I cannot imagine that this segment will get ignored. Windows Phone will be replaced with Windows 10, something we already knew.
All in all, the new version looks promising and you can get your hands on a very early build, starting Wednesday, October 1, 2014. Go to http://preview.windows.com/ to download the ISO file.