Windows 10 although not quite ready for retail yet is here in beta form (technical preview). Here's all you need to know about the recent Windows 10 release and Hololense, Microsoft new virtual reality headset. Let's get into it...
Noteworthy points from the Windows 10 conference...
- It's free! Well for the first year that is..
- Cortana! Now you can ditch your assistant and chat with your PC..
- Start! Yup it was easy to predict but the start menu is back.
- Hololens! This could be really cool!!
- Surface Hub not such a great idea me thinks..
- Xbox One Xbox Live and Windows 10
- Spartan! Oh I almost forgot..
In somewhat of a ground breaking move for Microsoft Windows 10 will be free for the first year as an upgrade from Windows 7 and Windows 8 /8.1. This is great news for anyone disappointed with their new Windows 8 tablet, laptop or PC Windows 10 (I can tell you now because I’m using it) will be much quicker and user friendly. This move also will go a long way to helping Microsoft bring most Windows users up to date. Currently still 10% of Windows users are still on XP and roughly 70% using Windows 7.
Cortana came across very impressive during the Microsoft demo so I really hope they are not over promising on what Cortana is actually capable of. If you ever tried to use speak recognition in Vista / 7 or 8 you will know it was extremely hard work getting it to understand things correctly. Cortana promises to be as easy as 123 but we will see. I am currently using the 1st technical preview release (UK) and so far Cortana isn't available yet. In a real office environment Cortana isn't going to be much use, can you imagine an open plan office with 20 users all trying to talk to Cortana at once? With that said if you have your own office Cortana could be a real asset and an easy way to quickly add calendar items and pretty much anything else you want. Cortana could also be a nice addition to the family PC with the ability to play music or play films with just a quick voice command.
The original tile screen in Windows 8 was a hideous idea from the get go and the 8.1 upgrade with start menu was an average effort to fix the problem. So the start button is back but not without fault. As an IT admin I had many users complain about how difficult it was to add program shortcuts to the desktop and this problem still remains in the Windows 10 technical preview. To do so you still need to find your program let's say you have installed office and you want a word shortcut, right click on word in recently installed apps, click open file location and then from there you can drag to the desktop or right click and send to desktop. For me and the average Windows users this could really do with being as simple as it used to be in XP and 7, this will be one of my mentions to Microsoft when I send my feedback. Other than this I am now pretty happy with the new start button which as well as showing you all your programs and apps also gives you the chance to have a few live tiles like stocks, photo's etc as well as being able to easily switch to tablet mode.
I must admit the geek in me was really excited by the hololens announcement. With a very sombre crowd during the event this was pretty much the only item that drew any sort of applause from the crowd. There are still a LOT of questions around the Hololense not least what will the price be? And also a certain element of hoping Microsoft hasn't over promised with its awesome promo video. Currently the price is still unknown, what do you think £1000 roughly? At a guess... Although still no release date we are promised that Hololens will be release either with Windows 10 or soon to follow, let’s hope so! As you can see from the video above the potential is huge. I can already imagine this being perfect for in particular one of our customers. An exhibition stand creator based in Farnham. Imagine being in a business like this and heading into the city to do a big pitch, your one of three pitches that the client is going to see that day accept when you arrive rather than start showing your designs or paper or laptop attached to TV / big screen you can actually break out a couple sets of Hololens and take your client right into the stand you have created for them! How awesome would that be? and fair to say you would be increasing your chance of winning the business 10X! It's not often we get new tech that really excites us Apple has become very predictable of late so Hololens has the potential to be really awesome and actually transform the way we live and work.
I really don’t like to be critical but the 84" 4K Surface Hub kind of seemed like a bit of a dud if you ask me. What basically seemed to be a big screen for skype and digital whiteboard it really felt like this device was just a bit over engineered. Again with no price or release date I can only imagine that this TV / computing device will only be for the super-rich and frankly just a bit pointless for most SME's.
I'm not much of a gamer, wait actually I don’t have an Xbox or play games at all but one thing from the Windows 10 conference that I thought was pretty cool for any gamer is the new ability with Windows 10 to stream your games to any Windows 10 device in the home. So for example the Xbox one console is setup in the living room but the living room TV is being used 90% of the time by the rest of the family. Now you can fire up your windows 10 PC, laptop, tablet or phone and play your Xbox games right from that device simply by signing into the Xbox app installed by default on any Windows 10 device. During the Xbox Windows 10 conference there were lots of other cool stuff mentioned like recording games and sharing stuff like that which I’m sure all Xbox gamers will find pretty cool.
So in the last 5 years Microsoft have lost its huge market share in the browser market, now Google chrome have a 70% market share. But never fear Microsoft haven't been resting on their laurels and are taking drastic measures to win back that market share from rivals Google and Firefox. Introducing "code name" Spartan the new Windows 10 browser that will take priority over Internet Explorer. Spartan like Cortana isn't on the current Windows 10 technical preview but we think when Windows 10 is ready for release internet explorer will still be installed by default but Spartan with be the default browser and will take priority over IE. Spartan promises to have some pretty cool features including the ability to draw and make notes on web pages and a customised reading mode. This is all good but to compete with Chrome speed is key! For whatever reason IE was always much slower so let’s home this new slimmed down browser packs speed as well as new advanced features.