The Future of Windows
Windows 10 will likely be one of the most exciting parts of late 2015, so to follow up all of my Valve 2015 excitement I figured it would be fun to talk about some of the new features coming to Windows 10 and some of the features that I'd personally love to see.
Windows has been the operating system of the majority for a long time now. The operating system may not be as customizable as Linux or as consumer friendly with it's user experience as OSX on Macs, but with the largest selection of compatible software and video games it definitely makes do. Windows 10 is continuing this trend by taking some of the best features of Windows 7 and Windows 8, where Windows 7 had a smooth desktop user experience and Windows 8 introduced mobile compatibility, more efficient file management, and a sleeker look.
I'm sorry that was an awful (and probably overused) heading, but it's true! Windows 10 really is focused on making the user experience fun!
First off, they brought back the Start menu, familiar to those who used really ANY version of Windows prior to Windows 8.
You might notice something different about it though. All those panels off to the side are VERY reminiscent of Windows 8, and in fact users have the option to use the start "screen" from Windows 8 which utilizes the whole desktop (definitely a plus for users with Windows 10 on a tablet). It also keeps live tiles updated, so you can always get quick info about mail, weather, messages, tweets, etc.
However, if we're going to be more literal about the "FUN" part, we have to bring in the BIG GUNS.
While I'm an avid Steam user myself, sometimes dabbling in Ubisoft's Uplay, I do really love that Windows 10 is pushing for games to be one of the KEY features of the operating system. Games demand computer resources a different way than Facebook or even Photoshop might, and one of the reasons that consoles have their own operating system is so they can push those resources where they are needed.
With Xbox integration built into Windows, and with Windows 10 moving to the Xbox One as well, there are a ton of opportunities for more cross-platform play between different devices. It also closes the gap between the living room and the PC similarly to Valve's Steam Link. There are already games like Gigantic taking advantage of the new resources that Windows 10 will provide, allowing the same game with the same account to be played on an Xbox One or a PC.
Microsoft is also planning to release the HoloLens which plans to truly enter the augmented reality space, territory which has really only been explored in wearable form by Google Glass. HoloLens will work in tandem with Windows 10 as well as with another quirky addition.
There had been a lot of speculation about how Microsoft would choose to retaliate to Apple's "Siri" and Android's "Ok Google". Well the devs at Microsoft finally revealed Cortana, named after the key character from the Halo franchise. Cortana, like Siri and Ok Google, is able to use voice recognition to add events to calendars, set reminders, do searches, and a variety of other mundane tasks that would otherwise need to be laboriously typed out on a keyboard.
Cortana also has the ability to recognize basic routines and habits. Of course this is something some people may start worrying about, having a computer keep track of everything you do and start helping you do it, but thinking about waking up in the morning with all my internet browser's normal tabs open with a weather and twitter update would be pretty spiffy.
Available Now? Soon? idk
Windows 10 actually already has a technical preview that you can check out now! That said, you better know how to use a virtual machine, partition your hard drive, have a secondary computer, or be a REAL risk taker. It is a PREVIEW which means a lot of bugs and a lot of unfinalized features. They're actually going to be finishing up the technical preview pretty soon, possibly moving into a Beta version.
You can check out the technical preview here. Also, here's a video showing off some more of the features that I did not touch on:
Until next time!