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Windows 10 has already proved a hit for Microsoft since its launch earlier this year. Anthony Doherty, Windows and Surface Business Group Lead at Microsoft South Africa, told journalists on Tuesday that Microsoft has lofty ambitions for their new baby, with plans to have a billion Windows 10 users within the next two to three years.

So far, the numbers are stacking up nicely against that, in less than six months since its launch, there are already 110 million consumers running Windows 10 worldwide, and 12 million business or enterprise customers. That uptake is three times faster than that of the Windows 7 release, and four times that seen with Windows 8.

OS of choice

Doherty says that users of the new Windows 10 OS have reported major improvements in their experience of the system, even on much older devices. He added that users upgrading from Windows 7, on devices as old as seven years, reported a 20-30% improvement on running speeds. 

Among other things, Doherty argues that the new ways of interfacing with the OS – through gestures, voice, even ‘gaze’ (using the scanning properties of built-in cameras), are going to help Microsoft achieve their goal of ‘mov[ing] people from needing Windows to choosing Windows’. The next stage of the plan is winning people over with new devices.

The first Windows 10 phones

The biggest news in terms of Windows 10 devices is arguably the arrival of the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL – the first Lumia phones with Windows 10 OS preloaded – and Microsoft’s new flagship devices.

These phones are 5.2 and 5.7 inches respectively, and have a premium look and feel, with Snapdragon processors and memory from 32GB. They also offer users great work apps pre-installed, such as the Office suite and OneDrive, meaning you can get office work done on the phones themselves.

If you want more screen real estate though, you’re in luck. Both offer users the Continuum feature, which promises a uniform experience across devices, and – along with the new docks – allows you to connect to an external screen and other peripherals, and use your phone as your PC. You can even run different processes on different screens – texting off your phone while editing a spreadsheet via the screen connected to your phone.

Windows 10 out the box

Also announced was a number of new PC and tablet devices on the South African market that come loaded with Windows 10, including ones from big international brands like Lenovo and Acer, as well as low-cost devices from ‘Microsoft partners’. These are expected to be available this month and in January 2016.

Among the new devices was the rather compact Acer Aspire Switch 10e, a netbook-tablet convertible device with a 10.1-inch screen that disconnects completely to operate as a standalone touch tablet. With an Intel Atom processor and a price tag of just R5399, it’s likely to prove popular with students and small businesses that require a degree of mobility without losing functionality.

Accessories built for small and mobile businesses

Speaking of mobility, and making the most of Windows 10 productivity tools and uniform OS experience across devices, two fantastic keyboard products were among the new devices announced. Firstly, there is the universal folding keyboard, for just R2 100, that pairs with an iPad, iPhone, Android devices, Windows tablets, and Windows Phone, and can switch between two paired devices at the touch of the button. Then the Designers Bluetooth Desktop (R1499) is a keyboard (with full number pad for the finance wizards!) and mouse combo that will turn a tablet into an office.

All the Windows 10 benefits

For more on the benefits of upgrading to Window 10 from an existing device, see our coverage so far. From a business perspective, Windows 10 users benefit from better security, regular updates, pimped out productivity tools in Office 365, and can better control the division of work and person content on their respective devices. For extra security, check out our Secure Device Manager.

Please note: While the 3GB Windows 10 upgrade download is free, the data required to get it is not.

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