Today, Microsoft announced the next version of Windows,
Windows 9 Windows 10. I would say they announced the successor to Windows 8.1, but it seems to be more than that; it sounds like Windows 10 will also be the next phone OS coming out of Redmond as well.
One of the first major takeaways from the announcement, as you can tell from the image above, is that Windows 10 is slated to be the Microsoft operating system for consumer devices. That ranges from your 4″ phone screen to your 10″ tablet screen, your 12″ laptop screen, your 30″ desktop monitor, your gargantuan 80″ conference room tv, and to your internet-of-things device with no screen at all. Creating a similar experience across devices is going to go a long way for the adoption of the platform, and it’s something I’m excited to see.
Microsoft listened to the feedback on what was preventing users from adopting Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 and incorporated changes into Windows 10 to address those challenges. First up is the start menu. In Windows 8 the familiar hierarchical navigation was abandoned for a full-screen live tile environment. While this brought new functionality, it confused many. In Windows 10, the start menu brings the best of both worlds: it is no longer full-screen, and has the familiar hierarchical navigation you are used to from Windows 7, but also has a customizable area with live tiles for quick access to what you use most.
In addition to remodeling the start menu, Modern apps are much more familiar to work with now as well. Modern apps are apps from the Windows Store that open full-screen; if you aren’t a Windows 8/8.1 enthusiast, likelihood is you had some trouble switching between Modern apps or closing them to return to the desktop, at least your first time around. In Windows 10, Modern apps don’t need to be full-screen, but open with a traditional window title bar, and can be dragged around, resized, minimized, and closed like any other window. This should greatly improve the adoption of Windows Store apps, since now interacting with them will be just as simple as any traditional application.
One my favorite productivity features of Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 is the ability to “snap” windows to quickly take up half the screen or the whole screen. This makes it extremely quick to put windows side by side to, say, reference a website while writing an email, etc. In Windows 10, this feature is enhanced to allow you to snap windows to quadrants of the screen, rather than just halves.
Windows 10 also introduces the concept of multiple desktops. This is simply an additional tool at your fingertips to organize your windows. In the Windows we already know, the taskbar already organizes our windows by application, i.e., all your Excel windows are grouped together, but this takes it a step further. Let’s say you are working on two projects for work, and you are also managing your fantasy football team (at lunch, of course) to ensure you can get the latest waiver wire pickups. You could use a unique virtual desktop for each project, and one for your fantasy football endeavors. On each of your desktops you would have all the documents, spreadsheets, emails, and websites open that relate to that specific project; this allows you to keep your fantasy football bye-week spreadsheet out of sight and out of mind while it’s time to work on the earnings report. It will also make it easier to bounce between tasks at work, since although you may have 12 Word docs open for everything you are multitasking, your current desktop would allow you to see just the two you need for the task at hand.
The technical preview is scheduled for availability tomorrow, which I plan on installing right away!