The next version of Microsoft Windows won’t be called Windows 9 or “threshold.” It’s Windows 10.

The software company’s vision for its next operating system is a single OS that runs on a wide range of devices including phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and PCs. In some ways, it’s Windows One… with a zero after the one.

w10

Microsoft already offers software for each of those platforms, but the company has been working to bring Windows Phone, Windows RT, Windows, and the Xbox operating system closer together.

With the launch of Windows 10, there’ll be a single Windows Store with apps that can run across each of those platforms.

As expected, the new version of Windows won’t look the same on desktops and tablets. Desktop users will have access to a Start Menu and other features that may not be available to folks using tablet-only devices.

Microsoft revealed the new name for the next version of Windows at an event in San Francisco where the company talked about features of its next operating system that are aimed at enterprise and power users.

Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore says the operating system will combine the familiarity of the Windows 7 user interface with some of the features of Windows 8. For instant the new Start Menu combines a traditional-looking menu on the left (along with a search bar at the bottom) with live tiles on the right which show big icons, graphics, and up to date details about weather, appointments, messages, and more.

w10 start2

Tiles can be resized, and Windows Store apps can run in full-screen, in small windows, or you can snap them to the side of the screen to run multiple apps side-by-side. In other words, when you’re running “Modern” apps on the desktop, they’ll look a lot more like traditional Windows apps so that Windows 10 won’t feel as much like 2 separate operating systems as Windows 8 sometimes does.

w10 window

There are also toolbar buttons on these apps, letting you close, resize, or minimize Windows Store apps the same way you would with traditional Windows apps.

Microsoft is also adding a new feature called “Task view.” Hit an icon in the taskbar and you can see all of the currently running apps… and desktops. There’s support for virtual desktops or workspaces in Windows 10. The view looks a lot like Exposé or Mission Control.

w10 desktops

Did I mention that today’s event is geared at enterprise and power users? Microsoft has also improved command prompt functionality. You can now use Windows shortcuts including Ctrl+c and Ctrl+v for copying and pasting.

There are also new touchscreen features — including the ability for Windows to detect when you’re using a 2-in-1 tablet as a touchscreen tablet and when you’re using it as a notebook. This’ll let you use the full-screen Start Screen in tablet mode and the Start Menu in notebook mode, for instance. You can also use gestures such as swiping from the left side of the screen to bring up Task View.

There will be other events to highlight more consumer-friendly/less enterprise-centric features ahead of the launch of Windows 10. A technical preview of the operating system launches October 1st, 2014, and Windows 10 is expected to officially launch in mid-2015.

To try out the preview, you’ll be able to sign up for a new Windows Insider Program, but Microsoft warns that some of the pre-release builds could be a bit unstable, so you might not want to try running Windows 10 as your primary operating system until it’s closer to launch time.

via The Verge, GeekWire, TNW and Windows Blog

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29 replies on “Microsoft skips a number, introduces Windows 10”

  1. They honestly should have named it Windows One. The new XBox is indication that Microsoft cannot count.

    1. I like it. Definitely worth a try, although I think Mint would be more suitable for most Windows users (unless they like the Mac UI)

  2. It’s noteworthy that the most interesting tidbit coming out of the event is the new name, as all the other bits are either minor features, or already known. The Win10 name drives home the point that it has nothing to do with the software versioning. It’s just marketing. MS will get a day’s worth of buzz from it, and that’s about it.

    OS features at this point are almost beside the point, the minor tidbits aside. The major items aren’t mentioned: pricing, upgrade process, how much of Win will be a service, how software will work across platforms, etc etc. One suspects that MS itself doesn’t have all of this worked out, and it’s a catch-as-catch-can process. I don’t see a master plan.

    I’m glad that MS is at least trying to earn its keep with some innovations, rather than shoving things down its users’ throat as was with Win8. That said, all the hype doesn’t amount to much, as we’ve yet to see the results aside from some minor UI changes.

    Moreover, the crux that both MS and all of us are missing is that this isn’t about the OS. It’s been said many times, the OS is nothing without software support, and no matter how great Win10 may become, it’s irrelevant without new software. Aside from games, there’s no new productivity software on the desktop side, and the Metro side has been relegated to hand-me-downs from the iOS & Android platforms. Even MS’ own flagship, Office Touch, won’t ship until next year. If there’s no new software, why should users bother learning a new OS?

    We’ll see next year how Win10 fares. For now, I’ve no interest to devote my time in being a beta tester for MS. There’s no shiny new games or apps to string me along.

  3. Linux, learn it and like it. Why wait for over priced windows and their overpriced office? You will be paying $250 dollars when you can get something as good and often better for free! There needs to be a proliferation of tutorials for people on how to install the extras codecs on Ubuntu and how to download Libre and Open office and people will not look back.

    1. With Adobe Photoshop coming over, I’m seriously thinking about it. I want full fledged Illustrator and inDesign first though – oh and some decent, reliable sign cutting software. No, Inkscape’s not going to cut it for me (even though they have something called Inkcut – it’s been dormant for a year or so) but it is an option for others I guess. They have Blender 3D too which is nice. I wish Sketchup would be ported too and I’d be one happy camper.

      1. It’s not really coming over if you need Chrome browser and a subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud service in order to use it…

        But I agree that it will open many to the possibility at the very least… Still a Beta offering though and needs to go through a lot before it’s taken more seriously yet… and people will have to see whether the costs are worth it in the long run…

        Hopefully, Adobe won’t blow it but we’ll see…

    2. Doubtful, Linux is a constantly evolving platform… If people complain about re-learning how to use a mostly still similar OS then they’re not going to jump aboard a platform that will require them to learn to constantly adapt as the platform evolves over time…

      Like, simply using a online service like Amazon Instant Video for example… The dependencies required for it to work on Linux used to be straight forward until the developers decided those dependencies were outdated and stop including them in the newest distro releases, even in the repositories, and so people had to go out of their way to restore them in order to use such services because Linux is not a strong supporter of legacy support!

      Mind, most users won’t even change the OS their system came with…

      Never mind the confusion of choosing from up to over 600 different distros, over 200 are actually active and constantly evolving, and keeping support consistent between them when users will have to know that support for their distro will not come from the same place as another distro, etc… While most people won’t understand why some distros lose support after just a few years as they either focus on a newer release or move on to other projects…

      Really, there’s quite a few reasons why GNU/Linux has never really gotten much market share in the general PC user market… Despite all the improvements that have happened over the years and how some distros have gotten pretty easy to learn to use doesn’t really change all the reasons why it never really caught on to begin with…

      And until most PC users can get beyond the very basic, lay person, level of usages then that’s unlikely to change…

      Besides, the way things are going it won’t be long before Windows is free too… It’s already free for devices that can be sold $250 and less, along with discounted for just setting Bing as default search engine… and MS is quickly adapting a Google style business model where they get most of their profits from services, etc. rather than directly from their software products…

      For W8 users at least the upgrade to W10 should be free as another example of this trend…

  4. Why not just skip the whole Western Arabic numeral system and go with a Roman system. “Windows X” has a much better feel to it.

    1. Right and would sound exactly like OS X. Personally I think it’s time for Apple to release OS XI.

  5. Are these the “power user” features? A new start menu? Who are the “non power users” who can’t handle a start menu? [sarcasm off]

    One power user feature I’d like to hear about would be a bundled tool for setting up any number of custom touch gestures for desktop mode with as many fingers as the hardware device can handle. The user could choose any command line task to perform when triggered by such touch events. The tool would also allow setting application specific and global touch gestures.

  6. Is skipping a number a good idea? Every other Windows release was OK, so they’re skipping the good one?
    Also, late 2015? That’ll mean 2016. I’ve been putting off buying desktops and laptops for a year now because of W8, and I have to wait another year? FFS.

    1. Numbers don’t really mean anything and the so called good numbers for Windows releases are a myth anyway… Most people just don’t know or don’t remember the actual history…

      Besides, these ties in with the same reason they called the latest XBox, the XBox One… They’re finally ready to start the new paradigm of one OS for everything…

      Sure, it won’t be a complete and seamless merger at first but for most devices you’ll be using the same version of Windows but it will adapt itself to the form factor of the device and not force you to use the same UI for all form factors…

      While those using the Preview/Beta release over the next year will be basically the Windows 9 users anyway because they’re going by a monthly update cycle and each of those updates will be equivalent to an incremental OS release… So the same as going from W8 to W8.1 but monthly instead of annually and thus they are compressing years worth of changes into just one year!

  7. Hmm, invites a bit of confusion with OS X, doesn’t it? “Tech Support here, what version of the OS are you using, please?”

    1. Not even a little. Who are you calling that supports both Windows 10 and OSX?

      1. I was only half-serious. That said, I work for corporation which has hundreds of Windows and OSX machines to support. Of course MS itself makes some of the most popular commercial software for OS X…

      1. You are right, it really looks like an Arduino Yun. Still does not explain what Windows have to do with this!

        1. MS is beginning to merge all their platforms with this release… WP will get merged with RT, the mobile and WinRT/desktop app stores are getting merged, and the rest will have an adaptive OS that will adjust itself to what form factor device it is being used on…

          It’s still another step from a complete merger but essentially it’ll be Windows on every kind of device… and that includes the XBox on the far right side…

  8. Tantamount to classic star trek movies skipping an odd number: trouble

  9. Woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

    Put it on a 4.5″ diagonal INTC powered product with 4G LTE and I’ll throw away all my other toys!

  10. $1 says that they do release Windows 9 before this Windows 10. They didn’t address any consumer features that would essentially be added on top of windows 8.1, such as Cortana and a notification center. They also dodged the Windows 9 questions, upgrade questions, and release date questions. On top of all of this, they’ve made a big deal about speeding up releases for Windows, yet this demonstration is for a product that may be a year or more out.

    Again, $1 says that we see a Windows 9 that’s just a slightly updated version of Windows 8 released much sooner than this Windows 10.

    1. And my dollar says that the last thing Microsoft will do to ruin the hype of Windows 10 is to release another version of Windows before then (i.e. something more than a service update). You have to remember they have hundreds of PC manufacturers and corporations who need to be kept informed of Microsoft’s plans. They’re not going to spring any surprises like a Windows 9 if they have already said the next version is Windows 10.

      I’ll collect your dollar now, if you don’t mind…

  11. If they were going back to basics, they
    should probably have named it Windows 101.

    1. They’re not going back to basics, they’re providing an adaptive UI instead of a one size fits all UI that forces compromises on different usage needs… The desktop is just the hardest sell right now and thus the focus but W10 also optimizes for other form factors…

      Basically, for desktops the Metro elements are minimized and for tablets the desktop elements are minimized…

      While, we’ll see whether and how well it can adapt when switching form factors for 2 in 1 and similar cross over devices…

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