Introducing Windows 10 (Again)
Microsoft outlines the vision of Windows for the press, from mobile to desktop to augmented reality. I kind-of ignore the last bit, though.
I did not exactly make too many unsafe predictions, but let's recap the Windows 10 Consumer announcement anyway. The briefing was a bit on the slow side, at least if you are used to E3 keynotes, but it contained a fair amount of useful information. Some of the things discussed are future-oriented, but some will arrive soon. So let's get right into it.
Price and Upgrade Options
Microsoft has not announced an official price for Windows 10, if the intent is to install it on a new PC. If you are attempting to upgrade a machine that currently runs Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, then that will be a free upgrade if done within the first year. Windows Phone 8.1 users are also eligible for a no-cost upgrade to Windows 10 if done in the first year.
Quote Terry Myerson of Microsoft, “Once a device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will be keeping it current for the supported lifetime of the device.” This is not elaborated on, but it seems like a weird statement given what we have traditionally expected from Windows. One possible explanation is that Microsoft intends for Windows to be a subscription service going forward, which would be the most obvious extension of “Windows as a Service”. On the other hand, they could be going for the per-device revenue option with Bing, Windows Store, and other initiatives being long tail. If so, I am a bit confused about what constitutes a new device for systems that are regularly upgraded, like what our readers are typically interested in. All of that will eventually be made clear, but not yet.
A New Build for Windows 10
Late in the keynote, Microsoft announced the availability of new preview builds for Windows 10. This time, users of Windows Phone 8.1 will also be able to see the work in progress. PC “Insiders” will get access to their build “in the next week” and phones will get access “in Feburary”. Ars Technica seems to believe that this is scheduled for Sunday, February 1st, which is a really weird time to release a build but their source might be right.
We don't know exactly what will be in it, though. In my predictions, I guessed that a DirectX 12 SDK might be available (or at least some demos) in the next build. That has not been mentioned, which probably would have been if it were true. I expect the next possibility (if we're not surprised in the next one-to-ten days when the build drops) is Game Developers Conference (GDC 2015), which starts on March 2nd.
The New Web Browser: Project Spartan
My guess was that Spartan would be based on DirectX 12. Joe Belfiore said that it is using a new, standards-compliant rendering engine and basically nothing more. The event focused on specific features. The first is note taking, which basically turns the web browser into a telestrator that can also accept keyboard comment blocks. The second is a reading mode that alters content into a Microsoft Word-like column. The third is “reading lists”, which is basically a “read it later” feature that does offline caching. The fourth is Adobe PDF support, which works with the other features of Spartan such as note taking and reading lists.
Which Transitions Into Cortana
The fifth feature of Spartan is Cortana integration, which will provide auto-suggestions based on the information that the assistant software has. The example they provided was auto-suggesting the website for his wife's flight. Surprisingly, when you attempt to control a Spartan, Cortana does not say “There's two of us in here now, remember?” You know, in an attempt to let you know she's service that's integrated into the browser.
Otherwise, it's an interesting demo. I might even end up using it when it comes out, but these sorts of things do not really interest me too much. We have been at the point where, for my usage, the operating system is really not in the way anymore. It feels like there is very little friction between me and getting what I want done, done. Of course, people felt that way about rotary phones until touch-tone came out, and I keep an open mind to better methods. It's just hard to get me excited about voice-activated digital assistants.
As I stated before, DirectX 12 was mentioned but a release date was not confirmed. What they did mention was a bit of relative performance. DirectX 12 supposedly uses about half of the power consumption of DirectX 11, which is particularly great for mobile applications. It can also handle scenes with many more objects. A FutureMark demo was displayed, with the DirectX 11 version alongside a DirectX 12 version. The models seem fairly simple, but the DirectX 12 version appears to running at over 100 FPS when the DirectX 11 version outright fails.
Other gaming features were mentioned. First, Windows 10 will allow shadow recording the last 30 seconds of footage from any game. You might think that NVIDIA would be upset about that, and they might be, but that is significantly less time than ShadowPlay or other recording methods. Second, Xbox One will be able to stream gameplay to any PC in your house. I expect this is the opposite direction than what people hope for, rather wishing for high-quality PC footage to be easily streamed to TVs with a simple interface. It will probably serve a purpose for some use case, though.
Well that was a pretty long event, clocking in at almost two-and-a-half hours. The end had a surprise announcement of an augmented reality (not virtual reality) headset, called the “HoloLens”, which is developed by the Kinect team. I am deliberately not elaborating on it because I was not at the event and I have not tried it. I will say that the most interesting part about it, for me, is the Skype integration, because that probably hints at Microsoft's intentions with the product.
For the rest of us, it touched on a number of interesting features but, like the Enterprise event, did not really dive in. It would have been nice to get some technical details about DirectX 12, but that obviously does not cater to the intended audience. Unless an upcoming build soft-launches a DirectX 12 preview (or Spartan) so that we can do our own discovery, we will probably need to wait until GDC and/or BUILD to find out more.
Until then, you could watch the on-demand version at Microsoft's website.
Good to see that a
Good to see that a multibillion dollar company is still using as much blue as possible considering its the worst color for human vision.
pink would better suit you
pink would better suit you
RE: Price and Upgrade
RE: Price and Upgrade Options
In addition to the concern already mentioned about “what constitutes a new device for systems that are regularly upgraded”, I wonder how many editions of Windows 10 will be available (Home, Basic, Bing, Professional, Enterprise, etc.) and how this relates to your license when upgrading.
“If you are attempting to upgrade a machine that currently runs Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, then that will be a free upgrade if done within the first year.” Ok, so I have Windows 7 Home Premium or Windows 8 Professional, or Windows 8.1 w/Media Center…what exactly do I get when “upgrading” to Windows 10???
I was wondering the same
I was wondering the same thing. There must be 37 versions of Win7 and twice as many of Win8.
Maybe they’ll start making sense and upgrade everyone to two grades (Home and Pro for example) and be done with it. But, since this is MS, there will be probably minimum 85 versions with variations like OEM with DVD or not, with bing (or not), pro, very-pro, small business, bigger business, enterprise (biggest business), corporation, with anything between 32 and 64 bit on x86, ARM, with/out support for hardware-accelerated VM… and the endless story would then continue so that one needs to be employed full-time in every company in order to make sense of it.
Anyone recommend a good Linux
Anyone recommend a good Linux Distro?
SteamOS when it’s out of
SteamOS when it’s out of beta.
Elementary OS is actually
Elementary OS is actually pretty great
I’ll get Windows 10 when it
I’ll get Windows 10 when it comes out!!
What I really want to know
What I really want to know about Windows 10 press conference is….Was “hair guy” there? LOL…By he way..I really want to win that car!
“Hair Guy” lolz
“Hair Guy” lolz
Winders. It’s what old people
Winders. It’s what old people look out of! Ryan being from Kentucky knows what I’m talking about!
Windows 10 is not
Windows 10 is not subscription based.
Terry Myerson said there will be no additional fees attached to Windows 10.
Windows “10”, but what about
Windows “10”, but what about things not exactly defined, that need to be added, to keep that number safe, and functioning, you wouldn’t want that “free” “10” to have any misfortunate mishaps, would you. You have accepted the protection, no charge for that acceptance, But…!
“Free” to upgrade,
“Free” to upgrade,
“Once a device is upgraded to Windows 10, we’ll be keeping it current for the supported lifetime for the device.”
And Just what is the supported “lifetime” of the device”?
Could it be a decision made by M$, and that lifetime is based on some metric that is not user controlled, it looks so juicy to the fish, that red wiggler so nicely undulating from the hook! What really happens once that EULA is accepted, and the hook is set. Free as in, take the bait, and wait for the switch, your PCs/Laptops/Devices are belong to US, yes that’s the ticket, that’s the ticket, you’re free to make the choice, and that EULA, so TLDR, may be your contract to indentured servitude, with no option to revert back to the OLD license, once tied to the hardware you purchased from a third party OEM. Do you not see the Threshold of no return, once you pass through that door, and find out you’ve stepped into a bottomless pit. I’ll take my 7, till its EOL, this is the end of the numbers game from M$, a flightless bird to you M$!
well im glad we just flip the
well im glad we just flip the switch straight to crazy self created speculation land.
OFF [/] TOTALLY CRAZY OMGOMOGMOMGOMG!!!!
It’s simple, and it goes
It’s simple, and it goes double for M$, and for the WINTEL dualolopy, it’s just crazy folks that trust a monopoly. At least with Apple one Knows that it’s a closed ecosystem, but with M$, it’s even those that have purchased their hardware from third party OEMs, that will be ensnared into M$’s closed ecosystem, yes let’s all just dance, and stomp down that crazy path, to servitude, you can avoid Apple’s crazy closed world, but M$’s Brave New World will take all the third party OEM’s customers, independent by their very nature, past that crazy point of no return, Enjoy Your treatment, just bend over, and stick your head in the sand, get ready for a Royal riding.
See the Glory, Of The Royal Scam!
why does any of this make you
why does any of this make you so upset?
you don’t have to upgrade, and you won’t!! stop foaming at the mouth over the voices in your head.
My voices like kittens… but
My voices like kittens… but it’s hard to get those kittens to roar when my pizza is late. :-/
that gameplay recording it is
that gameplay recording it is using gpu to do that or cpu?
Enter the era of the Linux
Enter the era of the Linux Desktop
*yawn* they’ve only been
*yawn* they’ve only been saying this since the 90s.
I don’t care about streaming
I don’t care about streaming between xbox console, I’d rather see Microsoft focus on PC gaming and finally port some of the console exclusives like the Halo and Forza series.
PC gaming is doing just
PC gaming is doing just fine… steam has enough games to keep you busy till the end of time.
I’m overall glad
I’m overall glad I bought a win8 license for my PC now.
I won’t upgrade off the dot just since I tried the preview and it was slightly slower compute wise. If you guys could do an 8.1 and 10 gaming comparison that would be awesome…
Thanks Scott for a good
Thanks Scott for a good article that doesn’t include the cliche Windows disdain.
I hear that Microsoft is
I hear that Microsoft is soliciting it’s users for a new name for their “Spartan” browser. The ones I’ve seen so far are pretty lame
My suggestion is to adopt the tied-and-true unofficial nickname that’s been around for years, begins with “E”, and won’t encroach on registered trademarks; Internet Exploder!, that’s what I’m calling it no matter what they decide…
The word “upgrade” has always
The word “upgrade” has always been a scary one when it came to Microsoft OS’s. How can you be sure that if you “upgrade” to Windows 10, that you won’t have conflicts, and in the end, just like all previous versions of Windows, have to do a complete rebuild of your system. There are just to many variables. What if you have a piece of software on your system that doesn’t play nice? I sure hope people back up their data before attempting this “upgrade”. I can already imagine the service calls I will get because people screwed up their computers doing this “upgrade” because it was “free.”