Windows 10 coming this winter
Microsoft today announced that it will launch Windows 10 in 190 countries and 111 different languages this winter, but did not confirm a firm release date. When Microsoft's new operating system drops, Windows 7 and Windows 8 users will be able to upgrade for free if they do so within Windows 10's first year of availability. The vast majority of Windows 8.1 devices will be Windows 10 capable due to the two operating systems sharing the same minimum hardware requirements.
Microsoft sees Windows 10 as more of a service – such as OneDrive or Rdio – rather than a traditional operating system, and as such, will update it like one.
"Just like any Internet service, the idea of asking 'What version are you on?' will cease to make sense," Tyler Myerson, Microsoft's Executive Vice President said in January. "With Windows 10, the experience will evolve and get even better over time. We’ll deliver new features when they’re ready, not waiting for the next major release."
"Once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device – at no additional charge".
Microsoft's driving vision for Windows 10 is one of convergence: the operating system will run on almost any device, whether it as a laptop, desktop, smartphone, tablet or Xbox. While the interface will be different on each device, the shared codebase will make it easier for developers to write universal applications that work across the entire Windows ecosystem.
Key features in Windows 10 include the return of the start menu, a new internet browser (codenamed Spartan) that will replace Internet Explorer, the ability to stream Xbox One titles, and a desktop version of Cortana, Microsoft's voice-activated assistant. Microsoft today announced that Windows 10 will have support for biometric authentication.