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Internet Explorer is finally, officially, definitely dead

Microsoft’s Windows 10 keynote saw it touch on devices, holograms, mobile, Xbox One and a new web browser.

Image: Microsoft/YouTube

AT A TWO and a half hour keynote lasst night, Microsoft revealed its vision for Windows 10 and everything else around it. Some of the features it touched upon included holograms, Xbox One, Cortana, Microsoft Office, Project Spartan, and a few other bit and pieces.

While it went through many things at the session, here are the main points to take away from it.

1. Microsoft really wants to bring everyone up to speed 

One of the major announcements that was mentioned early on was a free upgrade to Windows 10 for most users.

Those using Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8.1, and Windows 7 will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free during the first year of release. The inclusion of Windows 7 is a major deal since the majority of people are using that version and will have little reason to upgrade since they’re comfortable. Since it’s now free, it will give people incentive to upgrade to the latest version.

The entire purpose of this is to ensure all developers are creating apps and services for all services since Metro supports universal apps. Both stores are in need of more support from developers and making Windows 10 as tempting as possible requires it to convince as many people to upgrade. The more people using it, the more likely developers are going to create apps for that platform, making it more attractive.

Although the small problem is that those on Windows 8 aren’t included so if you’re still using it by the time it arrives, you’re out of luck.

Source: Windows/YouTube

2. If you can’t beat them, take inspiration from them

Anyone following Microsoft’s announcements will have noticed many similarities between these features and other apps and services out there. Most of the new features could be found elsewhere.

Outlook swipe patterns takes inspiration from iOS Mail, Project Spartan uses feature from Pocket and Safari, and even Windows 10 for Mobile has notifications you can respond to directly, similar to iOS 8 and Lollipop.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, provided something is integrated properly and is easy to use, people won’t care where certain features came from, but it does signal that Microsoft is playing it safe by going for the features that it knows works and what it knows people will find useful.

Windows Mobile Source: Windows/YouTube

3. Internet Explorer is dead, long live (codename) Project Spartan 

One of the worst kept secrets of this event was the introduction of a new browser, Project Spartan. Internet Explorer had taken a major beating in recent years so it’s probably wise for Microsoft to drop the name and signal a fresh start.

From first impressions, it’s looks clean and it does take some inspiration from Chrome in the basic area. But there are other areas like Note-taking which lets you draw on pages while you’re browsing and share the whole page or save it, a new reading mode which also looks clean, and takes prompts from the likes of Pocket by allowing you to save it, and Cortana is included as well.

Project Spartan Reading mode on Project Spartan. Source: Windows/YouTube

4. Control Panel and PC settings will be the one feature.

Not a major addition, but it’s a ‘thank god’ moment for those (i.e. everyone) who were annoyed with Windows 8 and 8.1 insisting that on two separate controls for what was effectively the same thing.

5. Cortana is going to have a better time on PC than mobile.

Of the numerous announcements made, a significant one is Cortana making its way to PC. While it still has yet to make its way over here, placing it on desktop is both a necessary and wise move for two reasons.

The first is that Cortana has a much better chance of being noticed and used on Windows 10 than Windows Mobile. The second is that people will be more comfortable talking to Cortana in the privacy of their desktop than on their phone.

How many people talk to Siri, Google Now, or any text-to-speech feature while they’re in public? The answer is likely very low so putting it in a private environment is a better fit.

6. Xbox app for Windows 10 has one great feature that you will want to try.

The Xbox’s announcement didn’t cover too much new ground, capturing clips and sharing them as well as joining friends in games isn’t going to amaze anyone, but it did have one feature that will certainly work in its favour: streaming.

As part of the new update, anyone with an Xbox One will be able to stream and play their game on their Windows PC or tablet. That’s a pretty significant and handy addition, which is more useful than you would initially think.

Many people will have a PC or tablet, and using an existing device instead of having to get a new one (or buy a specific device like Sony’s Remote Play service) will win it a new set of fans when they find out the TV is taken.

Source: Xbox/YouTube

7. Microsoft’s focus is very much on PCs…

While Windows 10 for Mobile was covered, it was regularly referred to as a companion piece to the PC instead of it being a separate entity. Regularly it was referred to as a way of allowing you to take what you’re doing on the desktop with you seamlessly instead of a standalone service.

It would also explain Microsoft’s decision to continue releasing low-cost devices as a way of bringing up the number of Windows Phone users. Yet it’s unlikely how much this is going to work in this case. But that may not matter as much if future products are anything to go by.

8. …but it’s looking beyond the monitor

There’s a certain irony with Google taking Glass away from consumers and making it private as Microsoft just introduced Microsoft Hologram and the accompanying device Microsoft HoloLens, something that it claims to be working on for years.

Effectively a untethered headset that allows you to look at graphics through Augmented Reality (although it’s calling it holograms), Kipman said that HoloLens will be released by the time Windows 10 comes out, and comes with holographic lens which can display information in front and around you.

It has spacial sounds so you can hear holograms behind you, and has a specialised processor, a HPU (holographic processing unit) if you will, and works independent of any device.

From the live demo of Holo Studio, Windows 10′s way of working with 3D content, actions are carried out through touch and pinch gestures as well as voice commands and while it’s not as smooth as the preview video suggested, but you can expect Skype and Minecraft to play a part of it.

Microsoft is promising the moon with this, and it could either be a device that will push AR forward or become another Google Glass.

Time will soon tell which one it is.

Source: Microsoft/YouTube

 

Source: Microsoft/YouTube

Read: Facebook says it has had a MASSIVE effect on the economy >

Read: Microsoft’s latest patent could remove one of the most annoying problems in cinema >

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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