Microsoft has announced the next iteration of its flagship operating system. The company has decided to skip a number and jump straight to 10. Windows 10 will apparently run across everything Microsoft has its hands in, covering mobile devices and PCs; and everything in between.
The Start Menu makes a proper sort of return, unlike the version that appeared in Windows 8.1. Windows users will recognise elements from the traditional menu bring used with the pinned apps and options to shutdown or restart the computer. However, Microsoft has also stuck some parts of its Live Tile system into the Start Menu, and there is now an extension that resembles the home screen from Windows Phone. These Tiles appear to behave in the same way they do on the smartphone, including the option to resize and rearrange them.
Multi-tasking receives a focus in Windows 10 as Microsoft demonstrated the new “Task View” feature. Launched from a button on the taskbar, it allows multiple desktops to be run with different apps in the background. When open, it will display the various running apps and allowing users to quickly switch between them. This is notable due to the absence of the full screen apps that plagued the user experience in Windows 8.1.
The Charms bar is retained in Windows 10 for users who prefer the touch interface. It appears to be unchanged from Windows 8, but that could possibly change in the future. Touch users will also be able to access the Task View feature by swiping into the screen from the left, although this version of Task View has larger buttons to accommodate the slightly less precise interface.
Windows 10 is also given the ability to switch between touch and keyboard interface based on the device it’s installed on; and whether a keyboard is detected. The touch version makes buttons and tiles large, somewhat like the touch version implemented in Windows 7. However, the Start Menu expands to take over most of the screen in this mode; looking a lot like the Start screen from Windows 8; albeit with the Windows taskbar below it.
Microsoft is launching its Windows Insider Program tomorrow, which will provide the Technical Preview for laptops and desktops to those who sign up for it. Interestingly, Windows 10 is also the next operating system for Microsoft powered smartphones; although these will not have a desktop. Microsoft did not show off what this will look like, but it will be very interesting to see how the smartphone version of the operating system interacts with the desktop environment. Windows 10 is expected to ship late in 2015.
[Image source: The Verge]