Microsoft is starting to show off new features for the upcoming Windows 10 operating system. The OS is designed to run across a range of devices including phones, tablets, and notebooks, and the latest builds are designed to make it easy for users to transition from tablet to notebook mode or back again when using 2-in-1 devices.

For instance, the Continuum feature asks you when you detach a tablet from a keyboard dock if you want to enter tablet mode.

The next preview build of Windows 10 will be available the last week of January, while the first build for phones launches in early February.

win10 cont

This automatically makes any of the apps you’ve been running in small windows change to full-screen apps which respond to touch gestures such as swipe-down from the top of the screen to close apps or swipe from the side to switch between running apps.

In other words, touch gestures aren’t limited to Windows Store apps anymore. You can use them to navigate through classic Win32 apps.

win10 start

And while there had been some rumors suggesting that small Windows tablets would only be able to run full-screen apps in the future, and not desktop-style apps, Microsoft has shown off an early build of Windows 10 which can run either type of app — and in fact, you can run Windows Store apps in smaller Windows which you can move about the screen.

There’s also a taskbar and Start Menu.

win10 8 inch desktop

Speaking of the Start Menu, when you’re using a device in tablet mode it’s automatically a full-screen, Windows 8.1-style Start Screen. When you’re in desktop mode, it becomes a Windows 7-style Start Menu… with the addition of live tiles.

If you want to use the Start Screen in laptop mode though, there’s an option to make it full screen.

win10 cont_02

Microsoft has also merged some of the features that were in separate areas in Windows 8.1. There’s a new Control Panel, for instance, which includes access to settings that had previously been in the Windows Settings and Control Panel.

win10 controls

Windows 10 also includes a new actions and notifications center which replaces the Windows 8 Charms menu when you swipe from the right side of the screen, and Microsoft has brought the Cortana digital voice assistant to Windows 10.

Up until now, Cortana had only been available on Windows Phone devices.

win10 cortana

In addition to letting you ask your computer questions, Cortana lets you dictate messages, make appointments, and more.

Microsoft says Cortana for PCs will begin rolling out to Windows Insiders in the next few months.

There will also be a series of universal Windows apps that work across phones and PCs, including a new music app that syncs your music library across devices.

win10 music

The new music app will work with a new OneDrive cloud storage service: later this year you’ll be able to upload your music collection to the internet and access it on your phone or PC (much the way Google lets you do with Google Play Music).

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19 replies on “Windows 10 is designed to work on tablets, notebooks, and phones”

  1. I have Win 8.1 on a netbook size computer. It is slow. It could be why Best Buy was selling them below cost. I am hoping to upgrade it to Win 10 in hopes it is better. I read that the upgrade is free for Win 8.1 users. I had Win 8 on a different bigger more powerful computer and it was slow too, at times freezing up (it was a refurbished computer).

  2. It looks like Microsoft has learned from all their mistakes with Windows 8. Everything I’ve read so far about Windows 10 looks like it’s going to be a great OS. It looks like one interface that changes with the users needs. Unlike Windows 8, which felt like 2 completely different operating systems slapped clumsily together.
    “Microsoft has also merged some of the features that were in separate
    areas in Windows 8.1. There’s a new Control Panel, for instance, which
    includes access to settings that had previously been in the Windows
    Settings and Control Panel.” That’s a big one for me. I’d have to google settings to find out whether they were in the desktop Control Panel or in the Windows Settings.
    I like how you can choose between the Start Menu and Start Screen, and I like how the taskbar doesn’t disappear when you bring up the Start Screen. If Microsoft had made these options available in Windows 8, I wouldn’t have hated it so much. As it is now, I will remember Windows 8 as the second worst OS Microsoft ever produced. It is second only to Microsoft BOB in frustration to use, and it is much worse than Windows Me and Windows Vista. (On a side note, if you haven’t used Vista lately, they actually fixed almost all the annoyances with it. It’s actually a pretty nice OS use now as it enters the last few years of extended support.)

  3. “In other words, touch gestures aren’t limited to Windows Store apps anymore. You can use them to navigate through classic Win32 apps.”

    Interesting. One thing I think is an issue at the moment is classic Win32 apps which run fullscreen, and in some cases might be quite suitable to tablet use – but you’re stuck because you can’t switch to other Win32 apps by swiping, or even select show desktop or otherwise get out of that fullscreen app. Going into F11 fullscreen mode for some web browsers causes this problem, for example. So fixing this would be great, and make it easier for people to build tablet-apps even if they’re not Windows Store apps.

    “If you want to use the Start Screen in laptop mode though, there’s an option to make it full screen.”

    That’s a relief. It’s worth noting that by the looks of it, this isn’t a return of the Windows 7 menu, but is still the Windows 8 one, just that it allows running in a window rather than fullscreen.

    Personally I prefer it running full screen even on large screens (I have a big screen, why not make use of it), but choices are good since this seem to be the biggest complaint of the Windows 8 critics.

    1. Partly the same reason why the XBox One wasn’t called the XBox 720… It’s part of the theme of one OS for all devices but they couldn’t reset the number count in the OS version number and thus the next one on the list is 10… Also helps that they’re planning on a fair bit of change that makes it more significant upgrade than Windows releases normally provide…

    2. Purely a branding decision. Makes it sound more like a break from the past, to distance themselves from the Windows 8 disaster (especially in the mobile area).

    1. RT falls under W8.1 upgrade/update support, so should be included in the upgrade to Windows 10 options… besides, they’re basically merging RT with Windows Phone for the mobile version of Windows 10… and they’re basically allowing all devices running Windows versions back to Windows 7 to be upgraded to Windows 10 for the first year…

      1. Would it change the types of programs/apps you think? Like allowing chrome for instace to finally be downloadable with it’s apps?

        1. Maybe, there will be changes like the App store will all be merged and any App made for Modern/Metro will run on most, if not all, Windows 10 devices… Helps that Modern/Metro apps are platform agnostic and will run on pretty much anything…

          But browsers are still a question because the Modern/Metro needs to be open to 3rd parties to allow those type of apps, otherwise… like iOS, browsers options will be mainly limited to custom skins over the main native browser… So depends if MS makes it more open or not and that hasn’t been made clear yet…

          1. Thanks, you cleared some thing up for me! Hope to see more changes as time comes, like the browser question. Would love to have hangouts load to my Surface RT so I can give it to my wife to chat with her friends and she can then release my android table and the laptop…lol

    2. Everything I’ve read indicates that RT will not be upgraded to Win 10. MS has said they’ll provide updates to RT that will provide some of the funtionality of Win 10, but it won’t be the actual OS. Those of us with RT devices (myself included) will be left out, unfortunately.

  4. I have been using the Developer Preview and it seems like Microsoft is finally going in the right direction.

    1. Not just the right direction, they’re really showing off that a tablet can really be used as a computer. And no, not the garbage that a lot of iPad users say when they say their iPad is replacing their desktop. I mean, true desktop use. You can’t run Matlab on the iPad, you can’t run LabView to interact with hardware on the iPad, you can’t run true image manipulation software like GIMP on the iPad.

      Sure, you can’t do this on Android either, but not as many Android tablet users claim they’re using their tablet exclusively over their computers. This is really getting me to rethink about getting a Windows tablet/laptop 2-in-1.

      1. I went from an Asus TF300 Android convertible to a T100 Windows 8.1 convertible. There are times when I genuinely forget it’s a tablet instead of a netbook… hardly ever undock the tablet itself from its keyboard base.

        But I do my more intensive graphics/design/presentation work on my 17″ Win7 laptop. Programs like Inkscape and GIMP are certainly usable on a small 2-in-1, and the resolution is comparable, but I simply prefer a larger screen for that type of work.

        1. That’s true, but giving you the choice to is still great. For awhile, I used gimp on the 9 inch netbooks.

          1. I used to use Gimp on my old 8.9″ Acer Aspire One. The low res screen was really hard to work with, but at least it could be done.

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