Sometimes a massive company can stumble a bit; they can make mistakes or upset their user base by over experimenting with new features. While many consumers resist change and respond better to gradual modifications, Microsoft went change crazy with Windows 8. I am not saying that Windows 8 was a mistake (I quite enjoyed it), but it was a stepping stone to Windows 10.
Microsoft has released the Windows 10 Technical Preview to allow consumers to test out their latest creation while providing helpful feedback and advice. Like many others, we are quite excited for Windows 10, and there are a number of ideas that Microsoft is nailing on the head.
Understanding PC/Tablet Workflow
By far, the greatest idea, which Microsoft has nailed down, is Continuum. When the company released Windows 8 in 2013, they felt the future would see personal computers and mobile tablets combine. However, Microsoft wasn’t able to create the most seamless experience – this all changes with Continuum.
The new Continuum system allows consumers to switch quickly between a mouse friendly desktop environments and touch screen optimized experience. For Microsoft to showcase what they feel the future of computing looks like, Continuum will be the key.
Microsoft is last to the arena when we begin talking about virtual desktops. Linux and OS X integrate virtual desktops natively bringing a more efficient workflow to your favorite PC. Now, Windows 10 is joining the club and allowing users to organize their work.
The Windows 10 Technical Preview still has some work to do, but we know that switching between desktops is quite easy and that Microsoft has the general idea down pat.
Fast Information Access
While Microsoft is playing catch up with Virtual Desktops, they are paving the way for digital interaction. When Windows Vista introduced the universal search bar, Apple fans cried out that it was simply a copy of OS X Spotlight. Now, Microsoft is the first to introduce a virtual assistant, Cortana, to the PC frontlines. So, if Apple eventually adds Siri to their operating system – remember who got it first this time.
Universal search was a revolution for finding files on your PC. Thanks to Windows Vista, we learned that opening any program was only a press of the Start key away – no more fumbling through menu systems to find what we needed. Cortana improves upon information access by using natural human speech to understand what we need and find it for us.
Personal Cloud Data
Windows 10 isn’t the first Microsoft operating system to directly integrate cloud storage, but it is the first to do it from the start. Windows 8 saw the introduction of OneDrive in a later release, but users opening their new Windows 10 PCs will find OneDrive from the start.
There isn’t much doubt that the future of computing has to do with the cloud, and Microsoft is working hard to get both their consumers and enterprise users there. Using the power of Azure and OneDrive, Microsoft is helping to change the way we access data.
While many could argue that anyone could download DropBox and do the same, the average user doesn’t want to take the extra step. Many friends and family members I know began to use OneDrive in Windows 8.1 due to its easy integration. Now, with Windows 10, Microsoft is ready to take it a step further and help put our heads in the clouds completely.
PC/Xbox One Gaming
Microsoft has dominated the gaming space. Sure, PlayStation 4 sales have been excellent, but Xbox isn’t Microsoft’s only gaming option – there is Windows. Many hardcore gamers will argue to the death that the “Master PC Race” is far superior to any console available. Now, Microsoft is beginning to combine their two killer platforms into one experience.
With the upcoming launch of Windows 10, users will be able to stream their Xbox One games to their PCs for instant video gaming fun anywhere. In addition, some games, such as Minecraft, have added the ability to plug a standard keyboard into the console.
As we move forward, we might just find the line between PC Gaming and Xbox One Gaming blur – gamers might actually have less to fight over with Windows 10. Let’s not also forget all of those ultra thin Windows PCs that will gain the ability to stream and play hardcore games like Titanfall.
Microsoft isn’t done with Windows 10, but their ideas of the future are finally beginning to come together and we are seeing the final picture – “one Microsoft”.