Microsoft has announced that Windows 10 will be released this summer, and not this fall, as many thought. This means that Windows 10 RTM is around the corner and the next few builds, if even that many, of the Windows 10 Technical Preview will yield what the final version of Microsoft’s latest OS will be for consumers.
Let’s look at Microsoft’s announcements on Windows 10 and round-up some of the other tidbits about the OS.
Windows 10 Release Set for Summer 2015
While Microsoft hasn’t given an official date, it looks like Windows 10 may lean towards a mid to end of summer release to consumers. At the Windows Hardware Engineering Community (WinHEC), Microsoft announced the release for summer along with some of the hardware specs and minimum requirements to use Windows 10 on PCs and mobile phones.
Here’s the minimum system requirements for using Windows 10:
Here’s the minimum security requirements for using Windows 10:
Microsoft has given additional details on the Windows 10 release, including release in 190 countries and 111 languages. Windows boasts 1.5 billion users around the globe, so the number of countries and languages isn’t a surprise as Microsoft has always been focused on the global community. With the push towards Windows 10 as a platform and not just an OS, this rings truer for consumers now.
Windows 10 Will Be Free for Everyone, Even Pirates
As Microsoft has confirmed before, Windows 10 will be free to consumers for the first year but still no real details on what happens after that. So, as long as you upgrade before the first year of release is up, you’ll never have to pay for Windows 10 from Windows 7, 8 or 8.1.
In order to make the upgrade process easier and encourage consumers to upgrade to begin with, Microsoft has announced partnerships with Lenovo, Tencent and Qihu 360. While two of these partnerships are primarily in Asia, it shouldn’t be surprising when more partnerships in North America and Europe are announced. These partnerships will allow these companies to directly help consumers upgrade.
Windows 10 Upgrade Available to Pirated Copies of Windows
One of the surprisingly announcements from Microsoft is that pirated copies of Windows 10 will be allowed. However, they won’t be supported. So feel free to use Windows 10 but don’t expect Microsoft to help you if you run into issues.
One of the reasons Microsoft wants to upgrade pirated copies of Windows is to re-engage users who may not want to spend money on the OS for whatever reason. Perhaps once they see the evolution of Windows, they’ll be more likely to invest in other services and paid opportunities.
After the announcement about Windows 10 being available to pirated copies, there’s some confusion over whether this will only apply to Chinese users or if will apply globally. We’ll keep you updated when Microsoft makes an announcement or response to this.
Microsoft Partners with Xiaomi
Xiaomi, one of the largest up and coming mobile phone providers in the East, is partnering with Microsoft to release the Windows 10 Technical Preview on its Mi 4. Power users will be able to help test out how Windows 10 works on the phone for the possibility of Windows Mobile Phone release on Xiaomi’s platform.
Windows Hello Introduced
WinHEC was the first time the world saw Windows Hello. Windows Hello is Microsoft’s take on biometric authentication, allowing everything from your eyes to your facial structure to your fingerprint to unlock your devices. Right now, in order to use this technology, you have to utilize third-party programs, applications and drivers for the same functionality. Windows Hello wants to change that.
Microsoft will be working with Intel RealSense F200 sensors to make this possible, supporting automatic sign-in for Windows 10 computers with the appropriate hardware.
Say Goodbye to Internet Explorer
Project Spartan has been announced and it seems like the IE name will go the way of the dinosaur, according to Microsoft. Not sure if Spartan will really stay the name of the new, modern browser Microsoft seeks to introduce but if you think IE is actually going away, you’re mistaken.
Unfortunately, since most of the Web is still built for IE, it’ll be awhile before you see the browser disappear completely. Only time will tell how the hammer to IE plays out but for now, it’s still up in the air.
Windows and the Internet of Things
Windows will be Microsoft’s first foray into the Internet of Things (IoT.) When Windows 10 launches, it’ll begin leaving a footprint on IoT-enabled devices. This will allow everything from ATMs to medical equipment to keyless entry and more to take advantage of Windows 10 and it’s leap into the IoT sphere.
By working with companies such as Qualcomm, Intel and the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Microsoft looks to start making strides to the future of IoT and how it integrates into our lives.
Windows 10 is almost here and the technical preview is wrapping up. So far, Windows 10 looks to be what Windows 8/8.1 should’ve been from the get go for consumers and Microsoft’s decision to make it free to upgrade for the first year is there mea culpa.
If you’re not sure Windows 10 is right for you yet, it may be time to start examining whether you’re willing to put up with Windows 8/8.1 into the future or whether your hardware can sustain another couple of years with Windows 7.