Microsoft has skipped Windows 9 and instead revealed Windows 10 during a press conference this evening. And yes, that Start menu is back.
The new operating system promises improvements designed for business, including a better user experience, as well as improved 'enterprise-grade' security and management capabilities.
Microsoft also introduced the Windows Insider Program, giving participants a live technical preview of Windows 10 from tomorrow (October 1st) that they will be able to experience and give feedback on.
The firm will release more details on the consumer version of Windows 10 in early 2015, with the full version to launch later in the year.
Pricing has not yet been mentioned, however Microsoft claims that management and deployment have been simplified to help lower costs for businesses upgrading from Windows 7 or 8, 'making device wipe-and-reload scenarios obsolete'.
- An expanded Start menu that gives one-click access to popular programs and files, as well as apps, people and websites.
- Apps that run in a window; Apps from the Windows Store now open in the same format that desktop programs do. They can be resized and moved around, and have title bars at the top allowing users to maximise, minimise and close.
- Snap enhancements - these aim to make working across multiple apps at once easier. A new 'quadrant' layout allows up to four apps to be snapped on the same screen. Windows can also make smart suggestions on filling available screen space with other open apps.
- A new Task view button that provides one view for all open apps and files, allowing for quick switching and one-touch access to any desktop created.
- Multiple desktops. To avoid too many apps and files overlapping on a single desktop, Windows 10 lets users create and switch between distinct desktops for different purposes and projects - for example for work or or personal use.
“Windows 10 represents the first step of a whole new generation of Windows, unlocking new experiences to give customers new ways to work, play and connect,” said Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Operating Systems group at Microsoft.
“This will be our most comprehensive operating system and the best release Microsoft has ever done for our business customers, and we look forward to working together with our broader Windows community to bring Windows 10 to life in the months ahead.”
Microsoft says Windows 10 will launch on 'the devices customers are using', including Xbox, PCs, smartphones, tablets, the Internet of Things, enterprise datacentres and other gadgets.
Developers will be able to write an application once and deploy it across multiple device types.
Microsoft also says it has worked on user identities to improve resistance to breach, theft or phishing.
"Windows 10 will also help advance data loss prevention by using containers and data separation at the application and file level, enabling protection that follows the data as it goes from a tablet or PC to a USB drive, email or the cloud," it said in a statement.
"Businesses will be able to opt-in to the fast-moving consumer pace, or lock-down mission critical environments to receive only security and critical updates to their systems. And businesses will have an in-between option for systems that aren’t mission critical, but need to keep pace with the latest innovations without disrupting the flow of business.
"And the choice isn’t one or the other for businesses; we expect that most will require a mixed approach where a number of scenarios can be accommodated."
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