For the last few months one of the big discussions in Microsoft circles has been about the next release for windows codenamed Threshold. The next release has been greatly discussed because if the mixed reaction to Windows 8. With 8 the focus was on touch and mobile and this alienated (hand air quotes) traditional keyboard and mouse users. So with the next release a lot of people’s hopes have been pinned on this being the Windows release.
So on Tuesday of last week Operating Systems chief Terry Myerson along with Windows UX head Joe Belfiore talked about the next release of Windows…Windows 10.
No one was expecting the name. Most assumed it would be Windows 9 or Windows One or even simply Windows, but it is Windows 10. It’s funny because during the small press event Myerson had to say he wasn’t joking. The first showing for Windows 10 was for the Enterprise.
Now it has been days since the announcement and the release of the first Technical Preview. Given that stretch of time I wanted to give my impressions of the release more so than a simple repeat of the event. I should also not there have been numerous posts written about what you can expect downloading the beta software which are miles more helpful than what I could tell you. Having said that I do want to put in my two cents.
During the hour long presentation I got the clear impression that the team in charge of Windows knew what the headlines would say; that Windows 10 was a backtrack from Windows 8. It was something Belfiore addressed directly when discussing the future of touch. In so many ways this is a retreat from the aggressive stance took by Windows 8. Windows 10 is an acknowledgement that people wanted something familiar, so the Start menu has been returned. It is not the same Menu it’s a little flatter in terms of design and also includes changes started in Windows 8 such as Live Tiles and controls. Windows 10 also adds search (Windows 8.1) and new for 10 Task View (virtual desktop similar to Linux and OSX). There have been visual tweaks for Windows adding shadow effects new icons, and Windowed apps. The cumulative effect of the features in the Technical Preview is something to appeal to users of Windows 7 or older. In fact a lot of time was spent on making the case that Windows 10 was suited for users of Windows 7.
I think something that also should be noted while everyone else is talking about a return to a Windows of old is how they mentioned Windows 8. In the presentation neither man shunned Windows 8 or pretended that the audience that adopted it didn’t exist. In fact the goal of Windows 10 seems to be a better merging of desktop (Windows 7) and touch/mobile (Windows 8). And this idea is represented by Continuum. Continuum is a future feature of Windows 10 in which the operating system transitions itself between desktop and tablet scenarios.
The big takeaway I had was the thing Windows 8 brought to the PC, such as touch and mobility, were not going away with the reintroduction of the Start Menu. That going forward the plan for three screens and a cloud was still the goal. Now having said that there are still questions but I want to discuss those in my next post.
If you want to download the Windows Technical Preview go HERE. Understand this is a beta; don’t use it if you don’t want to experience bugs or issues. Also this is a BETA and Microsoft wants feedback so signing on means you agree to them gauging your usage to make a better system.