During the evening I had the pleasure to follow the latest Microsoft hosted Windows 10 event, live streamed from Redmond. Most bespoken in advanced were the fact that several of the most notable Microsoft executives would be joining, among other CEO Satya Nadella. Also, some information had been leaked revealing information about Windows 10 compatibility on new kinds of devices and of course about Cortana.
The event was primarily focuses on the consumer version of Windows 10, but some announcements are in fact interesting even for corporate users and IT-departments, for a number of different reasons.
First to enter the stage were Jerry Myerson, chief for the operating system division at Microsoft. First of all he talked about how the users that currently are running Windows 7 or 8.1 will be able to move to Windows 10. They should be more or less compatible with each other, and a transition from the 7 or 8.1 to 10 should be easy. Both for the end-user and for the IT-department. Also, he announced that the upgrade are going to be free-of-charge during the first year of Windows 10, at least for the consumer release of the OS. In my opinion, it doesn’t feel all too farfetched to see some kind of similar opportunity for the corporate users to do the same.
Myerson also introduced Microsofts vision of “More Personal Computing” which includes:
- Mobility of experience
- Natural Interaction
These three were the always present during the following event, and tells us a lot about the focus for Windows 10 and following operating systems from Microsoft.
Next on stage was a personal favorite of mine Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President, Operating Systems Group. In his demos focus were on – among other things:
- Cortana, the voice assistant that you know from Windows Phone. In Windows 10 Cortana is integrated with the OS and several of the apps. If what was demoed is true, I actually believe that the feature will be useful, not only for consumers.
- Unified Apps, now with support for Xbox One. Microsoft showed of several universal apps that will be included in all versions of Windows 10 for example Photos and Music. The new Office apps of course got most attention, and in my opinion looked very good. Especially the new Outlook-app looked good, great in fact when used on a phone running Windows 10. It may actually be a good replacement for my traditional Outlook application.
- Spartan, a brand new web browser that will, if not replace at least complement Internet Explorer. The focus of Spartan is first of all performance, but also collaboration and new ways of consuming and finding information.
Next person on stage were the chief for the Xbox-division that presented a lot of news for Xbox and gaming in general. Among a lot of other things the possibility to have multiplayer games between PC and Xbox, and stream Xbox game to other Windows 10 devices.
Halfway into the event, a lot of nice and welcome feature had been presented, but the wow-factor was actually not as high as expected. But there were more to come, much more.
Next on the agenda were the announcement of the Surface Hub, an 84” screen with all the functions you would expect for a 2100-century conference screen: Camera, microphone, speakers, compute, NFC, Wi-Fi etc etc… Microsofts sees this as a natural part of every conference room, and a way to get people to collaborate more easily.
But after this, one for me unknown person entered the stage: Alex Kipman.
Alex Kipman is responsible for HUI/Kinect and “Special Projects” at Microsoft and the expectations (and my pulse to be honest) quickly rose to seldom know heights.
As a complete surprise for most, if not all, Microsofts releases a new product called HoLoLens. Similar to Google Glass, it’s a pair of glasses for Argumented Reality. But were Googles product only could be used as a filter on top of the world, HoLoLens are able to actually create something that best could be explained as holograms. The Wow-factor got from 0-100 in a matter of second if not less. I could say a lot of these, but I’ll save that for another post. But why mention them at all? Of one simple reason, the possibilities with theses are enormous. They are currently used by NASA, but imagine that use they could be in everything from carpenters and architects to doctors, fire departments and military.
Last, but not least, Satya Nadella came on stage to sum things up. He also explained how everything announced on stage were connected to Microsofts vision of “Mobile first, Cloud first”. Among other things he talked about the new way of delivering Windows – as a service. Were a user will be able to upgrade to the latest release of the OS during the lifetime of his or hers devices.
This is just a few things about everything that were said during the event, and I’ll get back with more points of view later on. I just want to finish this post with two quotes from the event, which I think will be remembered for a long time ahead:
“We want to move people from needing Windows, to choosing Windows, to loving Windows”
“We want Windows 10 to be the most loved release of Windows ever”
I actually believe that we have witnessed something truly big tonight, and I’m very happy to be a part of it.