Today Microsoft have previewed the next version of Windows which isn’t called Windows 9 as many expect and is going to be called Windows 10. The media briefing today focused on enterprise and the desktop and we got a glimpse of the new Start Menu, windowed modern apps and a new task switcher.
As the focus of the event was for enterprise uses what was shown off was mainly the desktop and laptop features. Not much of the touch UI was shown but it’s the clear the changes to the UI are aimed at winning over( or back) desktop users. The new start menu looks like a hybrid of the Windows 7 Start Menu combined with Windows 8’s start screen. You can pin Windows apps to the start menu and they still live tiles, there is a search box just and recent apps list just like Windows 7. Modern Windows apps can be run in a Window, side by side, quad view or however you want and there is a task switcher button that shows open apps in a new view that you can switch between.
There wasn’t much shown for tablet users but the charms bar was shown. Microsoft said it probably will evolve from the current design but it’s good to see it there as I use it a lot (I am probably in the minority on this). Swiping in from the left now brings in the new task switcher where you can tap on the app you want to activate rather than the straight switching of Windows 8. Even the command prompt has been updated including Ctrl-V option at last!
There is a virtual desktop feature very much like Linux’s Virtual Desktop where you can setup a desktop for different projects. You could have one for development, one for browsing and so on.
Microsoft talked about Windows 10 running on a broad range of devices from 4 inch devices up to 80 inches and that it is not one UI to rule them all but one OS tailored for the each device.
Microsoft have announce a Windows Insider Program where we will be able to get an early look a Windows 10 for desktops and laptops. There won’t be the combined Windows and Windows Phone features in the preview, this is an enterprise build and Microsoft will talk about the consumer features in early 2015. So don’t expect any consumer features, tablet UI or Windows Media Center in this release. The developer features will be talked about at Microsoft’s Build conference later in 2015 with the final release due later in next year.
It looks like Microsoft are really trying to make Windows 10 an easy upgrade from Windows 7 and bring desktop users to the new OS. From the look of the screenshots for laptop and desktop users this could be a good step forward and Microsoft have listen to feedback from users. What I really want to see what the consumer/tablet story will be but for that we are going to have to wait until January.
The tech preview will be live tomorrow. We will be talking about Windows 10 on the podcast recording (9pm UK Tuesday evening) come and join us in the chatoom
More info on the Windows Blogs and here is a video highlighting some of the features: