Microsoft Unveils Windows 10, Skips the Number 9
The much-anticipated (and needed) next step for Microsoft’s popular Windows operating system was unveiled yesterday. After two years of the miserable failure that is Windows 8 (and the slightly less terrible Windows 8.1), Microsoft has given up on Windows 8 and is moving on to the next iteration of Windows to be called Windows 10.
The choice of name as Windows 10 was made because Microsoft wants to show how big of a jump they see this as compared to Windows 8. I’d make a Doctor Who reference about how they don’t talk about the 9th incarnation (The War Doctor) but it’s 8 that they don’t want you thinking about anymore.
The biggest news for everyone is the return of the Start Menu. I won’t say that it was absent in Windows 8 just very, very different and closer to that of a phone’s home screen than the traditional start menu. While the classic list of pinned and frequently used applications will be on the Start Menu, the tiles aren’t going away. Resizeable tiles will be featured on the right side of the start menu and can be resized similar to Windows 8.
In addition to the new Start Menu, Windows 10 is also expected to come with a virtual desktops feature, a notification centre and Cortana integration.
Microsoft says that Windows 10 will be on a wide range of platforms including PC, Surface tablets, Windows phones and even the Xbox One gaming console with apps available across each platform through their store which will try to harmonize the experience across all platforms. The marketing folks have tagged this under the line “One product family. One platform. One store.” If they get the cross-platform experience right, Microsoft could make Windows Phone a player in the mobile market and business users would probably be interested if that philosophy carries over to the next Office so the PC and mobile experience allows for seamless work in the office and on the go.
Having had a few weeks with Windows 8.1, I think I know the problems. My biggest problem was the mobile-style “apps” that took over the whole screen and made multitasking difficult. I have a PC so I can have Chrome, a Twitter client, Steam, a mail client and maybe a few other things open at the same time. I couldn’t get the hang of multitasking with apps in Windows 8 so I tried to cut them out as much as possible. The other problem was the layout. I didn’t really mind the layout so much. I wish it was more reactive to favourite apps on the tile screen like a Windows start menu but it reminded me of my phone so I didn’t mind it. While I didn’t mind it, that was the big hang up for a lot of potential users. Not everyone wanted a mobile-like experience on their PC. Maybe in Windows 11 or 12 will have more success with that. The mobile-recreation approach will come back eventually. Just not right now.
Though a release date for Windows 10 wasn’t confirmed, Microsoft is targeting a mid-2015 release.