Microsoft set for Windows 10 launch

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Published: Tuesday 20th January 2015 by The News Editor

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The latest major update to Microsoft’s Windows software – Windows 10 – is due for its first big outing tomorrow evening as the technology company looks to re-establish itself against rival Apple.

Last year the company behind the Mac brand reported increasing sales, with the rest of the PC market – including Windows-powered machines – falling in comparison.

At the end of 2014 at the original announcement, Microsoft caused a stir on social media when it decided to skip the number nine and go straight for Windows 10.

This was followed by barely showing anything in the new software, except a section where Microsoft told consumers about the command prompt window – a plain black screen used for code inputting.

Now the time has come for something more concrete from the technology giant ahead of the full launch later in the year.

Depending on who you speak to, an official release date and price for Windows 10 could be one of the biggest headlines to come out of the event. However, there are those who say it is unlikely as Microsoft may not want to give a public deadline on something that is months from completion.

Experts are talking about Continuum, the feature that has been identified as having the most potential.

Continuum is the idea that apps and features in Windows 10 will work seamlessly across devices, and will even adapt to each device used. For example, becoming more interactive when used on a tablet, and without a keyboard.

With Microsoft emphasising that it wants Windows to be one family of products working together, Continuum is essential. Get it wrong and Windows 10 could be in trouble before it gets started. All Microsoft has shown so far is a short conceptual video, so more information is highly anticipated.

This feature could also answer questions about the future of Windows Phone software.

Apart from a tiny pre-rendered screenshot in a product family image put up on screen at the last event, consumers have seen little of what the new mobile version of Windows will be like. This is likely to change as the Bill Gates-founded company will look to push on in a market dominated by Google’s Android platform and Apple’s iOS.

Getting a bigger glimpse of Windows 10 is one thing, but consumers will be more keen to actually get their hands on the software for the first time. A consumer preview version could be announced ahead of the full launch, offering consumers the chance to test new features early.

There is also speculation around Windows’ web browser capabilities. As technology site CNET’s Nate Ralph puts it: “Internet Explorer has long been my favourite browser to download another browser with,” which perfectly sums up the issue facing Microsoft. Explorer is default on Windows PCs, but many customers choose to use alternatives such as Google’s Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

The technology giant is expected to introduce a new web browser called Spartan. This is Microsoft starting from scratch – possibly complete with digital assistant Cortana, which is similar to Apple’s Siri. It has been suggested, however, that despite this upgrade Explorer will not be killed off, with Spartan instead becoming another option for users.

Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella is not far off a year into the job, and he is expected to speak at the event about the company more generally.

The most interesting aspect of any talk he gives could be Xbox, something he has previously earmarked as a crucial product, in unison with Windows 10. More sync across devices in Windows 10 brings it closer to the Xbox, and it will be interesting to see if Mr Nadella reveals any new links between the two.

The Windows 10 event is being live-streamed on the Microsoft website from 5pm tomorrow.

Published: Tuesday 20th January 2015 by The News Editor

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