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tech
23 January 2015

What to expect from Windows 10

Could Windows 10 be the Windows everyone's been waiting for? Take a look at some of the key features officially announced on Wednesday in the US.

The Windows 8 operating system drew lots of criticism when it launched in 2012, largely due to its totally unfamiliar user interface. The cries for 'bring back the Start button' were so loud that Microsoft had no choice other than to eventually reintroduce it.

In general, people didn't respond very well to Windows 8, even though there were significant improvements over its predecessors. With Windows 10, Microsoft is hoping to change how customers feel about the brand. At the launch Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said: 'We want to move from people needing Windows to choosing Windows, to loving Windows. That is our bold goal.'

'We believe your experiences should be mobile – not just your devices. Technology should be out of the way and your apps, services and content should move with you across devices, seamlessly and easily,' said Microsoft's operating system chief Terry Myerson. 

So how does Microsoft intend to change our relationship with its operating system?

Here's a look at some of the key announcements:

It's a free upgrade – Windows 10 will be available as a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8.1 users for the first year after its launch. If you upgrade during this period, you'll continue to get free updates in future on your device. 

Virtual PA Cortana comes to PC and tablet – Like Apple's Siri on the iPhone and Google Now for Android, Cortana is a personal digital assistant. It will now be available on your PC and tablet in addition to your Windows phone.

New browser – called 'Project Spartan', Microsoft's improved browser will let you add notes, share windows with others and will be integrated with Cortana. It also has a special mode for easier reading. 

Gaming integration with Xbox – You'll be able to stream games directly from your Xbox One to Windows 10. You'll also be able to play games with friends on laptops, computers or tablets. 

Office for Windows 10 – No matter what device you're on, the new Office apps will give you a consistent experience. Look out for new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook.

No screen computing – Windows 10 provides the world's first holographic computing platform. With Windows 10, developers will be able to create holographic experiences with the Microsoft HoloLens, an untethered holographic computer – basically a pair of high-tech goggles. It sounds and looks pretty futuristic. Check out the video for more.

New Surface Hub – Designed for groups, Surface Hub will integrate Windows 10, Skype for Business and Office 365 to create a unique space for teams working remotely.

In closing, Myersen said: 'Windows 10 will forge a new relationship between us and our customers – consumers, developers and enterprises. Today was an important next chapter of our Windows 10 story, but there is much more to come.'

The consumer release date for Windows 10 has not yet been announced, but it will be later this year.

'We want to move from people needing Windows to choosing Windows, to loving Windows. That is our bold goal.'

– Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella