Microsoft held an event for the Microsoft Insiders, or beta testers for the new Windows 10 operating system and the media at their Redmond offices to unveil new updates and features in regards to their upcoming Windows 10 operating system. While the look and feel of Windows 10 has been public news for quite a while now, Microsoft still had a few secrets up their sleeve to show off to the attendees at the event.

Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President of the Operating Systems Group, Microsoft starting the event by announcing that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for Windows 8.1 users

Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President of the Operating Systems Group, Microsoft starting the event by announcing that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for Windows 8.1 users

One of the first, and quite likely the most important announcement is that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for Windows 8.1 users for the first year that Windows 10 is launched. This is great news for consumers as those who are currently on the operating system, quite possibly because Microsoft wants as many users to migrate to Windows 10 as fast as possible.

A new feature called Continuum has also been built into the operating system, and this feature is set to be important for users who use Windows 10 on convertibles. Windows 10 now features both a traditional desktop mode and tablet mode, and Continuum’s job is to detect when users are switching from desktop to tablet modes, and provides users with the easy task of confirming which mode they want to switch into.

For the past several years, Microsoft has also been hard at work in trying to make their operating systems seamless across multiple platforms. With Windows 10, the company appears to have struck a balance as they also announce Windows 10 for smartphones.

Windows 10 will be an operating system for both computers and mobile devices. There will also be apps that work seamlessly across the two platforms

Windows 10 will be an operating system for both computers and mobile devices. There will also be apps that work seamlessly across the two platforms

This version of Windows 10, presumably running on ARM-powered devices is made specifically to cater for devices under the 8.0 inch form factor. Microsoft has been talking a lot about unified apps for some time now, and during the event, they showed off how certain apps like Skype can work across platforms. The focus for now, it seems, is to ensure that first party apps like Office, Skype and OneDrive to work properly before tackling third party apps, but since it’s still quite a while away before the operating system is out on retail, we’re fairly sure the company will have enough time to iron out the kinks.

Will we be saying “good riddance” to Internet Explorer in the near future? Microsoft has also unveiled Project Spartan, which appears to be Microsoft’s response to the much-maligned Internet Explorer brand. Much like its name, Project Spartan concentrates less on the interface, and more on the content.

WIll Project Spartan be Microsoft's answer to Internet Explorer's woes? Only time will tell

WIll Project Spartan be Microsoft’s answer to Internet Explorer’s woes? Only time will tell

With Project Spartan, you can doodle on web pages, take notes, crop certain sections and share them on OneNote or social media platforms, which is certainly a great feature to have built in into a browser. It also features a reading mode which streamlines the webpage to look something like text from a book, and on top of that, there’s also a Pocket-like feature which allows you to save web pages for reading later on.

Xbox One users will be happy to know that they will be able to stream games from the console to their Windows 10 PC

Xbox One users will be happy to know that they will be able to stream games from the console to their Windows 10 PC

Microsoft is also bringing Cortana, its personal digital assistant that’s originally only on Windows Phone devices to Windows 10. Microsoft’s aim here is to provide users an easier way to navigate both the computer and the internet, as Cortana will be able to respond to both written and voice-based queries, and can even track and remind you of things like calendar appointments, flight details and more.

Gamers who have an Xbox One will also be happy to know that Microsoft has not forgotten about them. Streaming games from the console to any Windows 10-based PC via the Xbox app will be made possible, and you can remotely turn the console on or off in order to do this. This feature is definitely one of the most highly requested from the gaming community, and they’ll be glad that it’s coming when Windows 10 comes out.

All in all, Windows 10 looks to be moving forward on schedule, and it will be exciting times ahead especially given what they’ve introduced in the new operating system.

www.microsoft.com