With rumours mounting regarding Microsoft’s next operating system, the company has now announced that it will be called Windows 10.
Windows 8 is a sorry state. Meant to be the very best operating system in terms of catering to desktop and tablet users, those using non-touchscreen devices found themselves baffled by the Windows 8’s layout. The Metro layout gave users live tiles to keep track of sports, news and the weather but it also removed the longstanding Start button which was seen as a confusing design choice given that so many users had enjoyed the Start menu’s practicality for so long. As a result, Microsoft could only do one thing to appease its users – bring the Start button back – and with the announcement of Windows 10, it seems that the company is doing just that.
Yes, bizarrely Microsoft’s next operating system won’t be called Windows 9, as previous reports led us to believe. Instead the company is naming it Windows 10 to signal what a big step this is from its predecessor. But what’s in a name? Well, other than the Start button, we will still have those live tiles just not in the way that we know them. Specifically, we’ll be able to drag and drop tiles into our Start menu, resizing them as we see fit and providing us with easier access to the software and files that we care about.
David Johnson who covers Microsoft for Forrester Research explained that “The Start Menu is perhaps the most important thing that will make the desktop experience familiar to business users, and will help it reduce resistance to its installation.” The statistics show that he is likely correct; Windows 8 powers just 13.4% PCs, meanwhile Windows 7 powers 51.2% and even Windows XP, which is no longer supported by Microsoft, powers 23.9% of PCs. So, understandably Microsoft would need to do something drastic to win casual consumers and business users over.
Is the Start menu a big enough selling point, though? The company mentioned “universal apps” that are tailored to a range of devices which is promising but there was no mention of other popular features such as the Cortana virtual assistant (think Siri, but Microsoft branded) that’s been seen on Windows Phones. Bringing Cortana to Windows 10 could be a huge draw for those left burnt by Windows 8 and it would be in Microsoft’s best interests to include it. However, we’ve yet to see all of Windows 10’s features but Microsoft says that in addition to rolling out a technical preview (an unfinished version, mainly for developers), they will also reveal more info at their Build conference in April, 2015.
Microsoft adds that they will release Windows 10 before the end of 2015. We’ll keep you posted once we know more.
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