New Delhi: Microsoft has lifted the curtain on Windows 10, showing off a whole slew of new features that will be coming to PCs and phones later this year. The new operating system is designed to deliver a singular, cohesive experience across a myriad of devices including desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Microsoft also showed off a new wearable 3D gadget it calls the HoloLens. The new gadget allows users view and interact with three-dimensional images. The move is seen as an attempt to keep its Windows operating system relevant as computing increasingly goes mobile and leaves the desktop behind.
The Redmond-based company will offer free upgrades to Windows 10 -- the next version of its operating system -- first for Windows 8.1 users and then for Windows 7 users.
The free upgrade is only available for the first year. Microsoft has yet to announce the software's price for the upgrade after that one-year window.
The company hopes that Windows 10 will help it regain the consumer confidence, which it lost to Windows 8. Windows has long been the dominating operating software for desktop and laptop computers, but it took a beating as more people have begun using smartphones and tablets. The new OS offers a much more familiar experience to Windows 7 users who never made the jump to Windows 8. By adding holographic representations to Windows 10, Microsoft is hoping to take Windows to a world beyond screens.
Here's a look at some of the best features of Windows 10:
Return of the Start menu
The new OS will now come with a Start menu that can expand to fill the full screen, if you desire. The new Windows 10 Start menu includes a new personalizable space for favorite apps, programs and websites. The Action Center (or Windows 10’s notification center) now comes with improved functionality, such as quick action buttons that let you activate features (such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi) with a single click.
No more Internet Explorer
Microsoft has released a stripped-down version of browser that has been codenamed "Project Spartan." The new browser will ship with Windows 10, and it will function similarly to Chrome and Firefox. The new browser will have integration with digital assistant called Cortana that will get her own place next to the Start button in the desktop taskbar.
The new OS includes a new "noting mode", which will let users scribble or type over a web page, grab section of pages and then share it with others. The Spartan browser supports pen interactions.
Cortana is Microsoft’s new version of Siri. By using voice commands you can use this digital assistant to make appointments, know stock information or sports news, set reminders, and perform other standard search functions, typical for a smartphone. It can also be used to search the local hard drive and OneDrive.
Cortana can answer basic queries like “Will I need an umbrella tomorrow?” or "show me photos from January," and it will quickly run the search query. You can also ask how much it costs to attend Harvard University.
Users can also ask “Play my music” which will launche the music app.
Microsoft has launched the Windows 10 mobile version of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook. These apps, along with the Photo app, can access any docs stored on the OneDrive. The Windows 10 Action Center settings can sync across all Windows 10 devices.
At the press event at its Redmond, Wash., campus, Microsoft's Alex Kipman, a technical fellow and the engineer credited with Kinect, outlined the following:
* HoloLens, a headset for virtual reality and hologram collaboration. * HoloStudio, a development tool to create applications. * Windows 10 APIs for developers to create holographic apps
Windows 10 has been built to integrate holographic representations of its software. With the companion HoloLens headset, Windows 10 users can interact with holograms all around them. HoloLens see-through lenses represent a big step over Google Glass, in which computer-generated elements appeared in the world surrounding the wearer.
HoloLens can map the world around you and display holograms that appear to be in thin air or on objects that surround you.
Using Windows 10's HoloStudio app, you can create 3-D objects with their voices and gestures (like pinches and flicks) and then print them on a 3-D printer.
Through design interface called "Continuum" the new OS manages its separate "desktop" and "tablet" modes. Windows 10 sticks to desktop mode when it recognizes a mouse and keyboard and tablet mode when there is no keyboard and mouse. But hybrid devices, such as the Microsoft Surface, will be able to transition seamlessly between the two modes.
A new look for Windows
Windows 10 offers the users the ability to create new desktops and quickly switch between them. The new "Snap" feature will allow Windows 10 users to work on up to four apps at once on the same screen. Snap has been around since Windows Vista, but Microsoft redesigned it for Windows 10 to include a new quadrant layout