Fast and slow rings receive January build simultaneously
A couple of days after its much talked about “Windows 10: The Next Chapter” event and over two months after the last official preview release, Microsoft on Friday rolled out a new Windows 10 Technical Preview build to the Windows Insider Program. A lot has changed from the last build, with the January Technical Preview containing many new features and apps (including some that are a bit too incipient to be of any real use at this stage).
There's a lot of buzz and excitement surrounding Windows 10 at the moment, which is understandable since Microsoft just finished revealing a bunch of extra details at a scheduled press event. However, if you direct your attention to Microsoft's Lumia Conversations blog, there's a bit of a buzz-kill for Windows Phone owners. Specifically, Microsoft said that not all Lumia Windows Phone 8 devices will see an upgrade to Windows 10, even though it previously said they would.
We tried Microsoft's augmented reality demo and couldn’t stop smiling
Many suspected that Microsoft would toss its hat into the virtual reality headset game. After all, Oculus VR was successful enough with its Kickstarter campaign that Facebook ended up purchasing it for $two billion, and longtime console rival Sony jumped into the fray not long ago with its Project Morpheus. While Microsoft did reveal its own head-mounted display, the HoloLens isn’t competing in the VR space, but is instead paving new paths for augmented realities. We got a chance to try it ourselves and you’re probably wondering, “Is it any good?” Simply put, if it's executed correctly, it has the potential to be transformative.
UPDATE: We've updated the story to include more info on Microsoft's PC gaming initiative and talked more about the tweaks to Windows 10.
Microsoft held a Windows 10 press conference today and revealed a massive amount of details from the upcoming OS and much more. After many rumors, Microsoft confirmed that Windows 10 will be free to Windows 8, 7, and Windows Phone users...for the first year, at least. The company views it as an incentive for users to quickly jump on board to the Windows 10 platform. Beyond the year, however, Microsoft hasn’t revealed any pricing details for how much the OS will cost.
Stop whatever it is you're doing and make a fist. Make sure there isn't a living creature within arm's length, and when the coast is clear, pump your fist in the air in celebration. What are we celebrating? The fact that Microsoft today confirmed plans to make Windows 10 a free upgrade for Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1 users! This is exactly the type of announcement we were hoping for, but didn't really think would happen.
Company trying to get rid of multiple sync engines
Microsoft drew the ire of many Windows 10 Technical Preview testers when Build 9879, which was released in November, was found to be missing a key OneDrive functionality: “smart files”, which are offline placeholders containing thumbnails and metadata of OneDrive files. At the time, the company said the feature had been withdrawn in response to consumer feedback and some key parts of placeholders could return once it was done making “fundamental improvements to how Sync works.” A few days back, the company outlined its OneDrive improvement plans much more clearly.
Rumored features include digital inking support and tab grouping
Microsoft has a special press event scheduled for January 21, when it will finally turn the spotlight on Windows 10’s consumer-specific features. Chances are Microsoft could end up formally announcing the new "Spartan" browser, which we first heard about late last month, at the upcoming event, though it’s hard to say anything with certainty at this stage. Well, it may or may not figure on the upcoming company’s agenda for the event, but Spartan has already gotten the tech media buzzing.
The reason Microsoft is rolling with Windows 10 instead of Windows 9 for its next major operating system is because the changes are so dramatic, it warranted a generational leap in naming the product. That's the official story Microsoft wants us to believe, anyway, and while there are alternative theories -- like lazy coding -- there are parts of Windows 10 that are truly shaping up to be vastly different than Windows 8/8.1. That includes the browser, and word on the web is that Microsoft is rolling out a new vehicle for surfing through cyberspace in Windows 10.
Looking back at another wild year in the tech sector
Two years ago, the world was supposed to end, based on the Mayan calendar. And last year, we heard about the death of the PC ad nauseam. Of course, neither of those things happened, setting up yet another event-filled 12 months of technology news that ran the gamut from a major security flaw affecting nearly every website on the Internet, to Blizzard announcing its first new PC game franchise in 17 years, plus a whole lot more.
PC vendors are not sure what to expect from Windows 10
Trying to predict the PC market is like to trying to forecast the weather a month in advance -- it's a crapshoot, basically. So, we're taking it with several grains of salt that PC vendors are reportedly doubtful that the Windows 10 launch next year will stimulate demand for replacement systems. One reason they feel that way is because of the lingering rumor that Microsoft may make Windows 10 a free update.