My summary of the Windows 10 event: Cortana, Universal Apps, Holograms and more...


So it's been more than 24hrs since the Windows 10 event concluded and there is still a lot of information to take in.
I missed the event live but was able to catch the 2hr event in its entirety and you can too. It's already on YouTube so you can sit back and watch it again or in case you missed it...



If this 2-hour full event coverage is too long, you can skip that and watch a brief 7-minute video showing a summary of features announced at the event...




The Windows 10 event started with Terry Myerson commending we "the consumers" on our feedback and contribution in building Windows 10.
He also stated (to the delight of every Windows Users) that Windows 10 will be offered as a free upgrade to Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users. This came as a pleasant surprise, even though it looks like they are taking a page out of Apple's playbook, I mean Apple did it first. Regardless, it's a right move as it will get Windows 10 into the hands of millions.



Windows 10 isn't just an OS anymore, it is built as an Internet service, this is indeed a new look Microsoft under CEO, Nadella.
Terry also talked about how Windows 10 will run across all platforms: PCs, Tablets, Phone and even the XBOX ONE.
And then Joe Belfiore came on stage to demo the latest build of Windows 10, something I am sure everyone at the event was eagerly waiting for, oh and those watching too.

WINDOWS 10 DESKTOP ANNOUNCEMENTS SUMMARY
First thing Joe Belfiore shown off was the evolution of the start menu and how it expands to a full screen start screen that Windows 8 users are used to. This (imho) is a really smart design, kudos to whoever came up with this...

start menu expanded to full screen start screen

We saw a first look at the new action center for Windows 10:
The Action center looks like they took the current Windows Phone action center and super-sized it!
It has even got those settings shortcut buttons. It is a welcome addition and further stresses the merging of all platforms in design and function..
We got a glimpse of the Multi-task view when Joe was demo-ing Windows 10 on a tablet, if you press a combination of ALT+TAB button you get the boring old UI for switching between apps but this new look is more modern...

 The anticipated Continuum mode was also demo'ed, so what is Continuum?
Continuum is a new feature (based off of consumer feedback) that automatically transform between tablet and PC mode as it detects how you use the device, for example when you dock your surface to its keyboard, it automatically switches to laptop/PC mode adjust the whole UI to make it more mouse/keyboard friendly.
Also, Cortana was introduced on the desktop for the first time.
It's official, you can now have your digital personal assistant on your PC and she has passive voice activation (just like in Lumia Denim) too, so get ready to give her tasks (send email for instance) while you work on other stuff.
She replaces the search bar previously on the task bar, but no worries you can still search, as you know, Cortana is powered by the internet...


So that's a quick look at what was announced for the next build of Windows 10: Continuum mode, new start menu that expands to full start screen and Cortana being introduced on your desktop.
The new build will be available sometime next week. If you are a registered Windows Insider, then get ready to get your hands on this sometime next week (before the end of Jan).

WINDOWS 10 FOR PHONES ANNOUNCEMENT SUMMARY
Next, Joe showed us what we have been waiting for... The new Windows 10 for Phones. Not much had leaked prior to the event, Microsoft did a very good job keeping the lid on its development.
First of all, we are getting a new start screen, instead of your monochrome black or white background, you can now customize the background with your own image or choose one of the defaults, also as unconfirmed rumors stated before the event, you will be able to make your live tiles translucent, though this was not demo'ed at the event, it was later confirmed.

Another modification was the app list, you will now see recently installed apps at the top followed by your other app in alphabetical order. this is good and very thoughtful...

Also, the action center also got a major improvement, you will now have access to many more settings from the action center. Currently you have just 4 slots to customize with any settings option, but with Windows 10 you will have 5 slots/tiles and when you swipe down, access to more settings will be accessible, it is almost android-like but I love it..

It is really good to see Microsoft taking consumer feedback very very seriously. It showed in yesterday's Windows 10 event and what was revealed.
The next improvement to Windows Phone was the settings page, it got a major revamp, one change a lot of Windows Phone users have asked for and here is Microsoft offering that change...
It looks like settings were grouped into different functions, but we never got to see what's inside.

Now to my personal favorite, actionable notifications!
When you get a SMS notification for example you can now reply without going into the SMS app, you will do this by replying directing from the notification bar.
This is one feature I have been wanting to see for a long time and it is finally here, just shows you how there is so much room for Windows Phone to grow...

Then in an unexpected twist, Joe B. announced that you can now resize the on-screen keyboard!
Didn't see that one coming, it just makes you wonder what else they can do with Windows 10 for phones huh?!

The last new feature announced for Windows 10 for Phones is that Skype is now fully integrated into messaging on Windows 10 for Phones, but this is an all new messaging app, one that can receive updates from the store (think Google's hangouts or Apple's iMessage).
I have always written about how I believe the development of Skype on Windows Phone was very slow due to the Skype Dev team working on a new Skype for Windows 10 Phone. I was right, this Skype is built from the ground up and fully integrated into Windows 10.

If you love these new feature and can't wait to get your hands on the new Windows 10 for Phones, Joe announced that we will be able to try it out sometime after the Super Bowl, this puts its availability on either the first day or during first week of February. Knowing Microsoft, let's keep our fingers crossed!

 UNIVERSAL APPS (MICROSOFT OFFICE, PHOTOS, MUSIC and more...)
Universal Apps! Universal Apps!! Universal Apps!!! This cannot be stressed enough. Since the support for universal apps was introduced when Windows 8.1 was launched, Microsoft has been stressing to developers on the benefits of universal apps and how to get it done.
Well, during the Win10 event, Microsoft finally showed how it's done.
They demo'ed the new Touch optimized and revamped Microsoft Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel...) and no, this wasn't demo'ed on the PC but on a Windows Phone. though still in its early stage of development, Joe B. was able to demo Word and PowerPoint app on a Lumia 1520 and it was pretty amazing.
It explained this is the same Word app running on the Pc that's running on your phone, with full set of formatting features and more. Sadly this wouldn't be available until a few months from now but it is good to know they are working on it!

Next up, the Outlook app (which will replace the mail app on your Windows Phone) was demo'ed, I had to heave a sigh of relief, finally they were getting rid of the boring Mail app on WP.
And this is no thanks to the Accompli Dev team, if you remember, Microsoft bought Accompli (a very popular email client for iPhone). And after watching the demo of the Outlook app on Windows Phone, you can already see hints and design references from the original Accompli app and it is really nice to look at...
Here you can see the popular "swipe to the left" feature to delete unwanted emails from the Accompli email client being implemented into the new Outlook mail for WP10.

Here is a look at what the Outlook app on WP10 will look like, as you can see and as noted by Joe B. it is the same outlook running on your Win10 PC/tablet. Another example of universal apps on Windows 10...


 With Windows 10, the Calendar, Photos, Video, People's hub, Maps, Camera app, Music apps are all universal apps now and have all been revamped and re-designed to optimize and improve performance...
Calendar and Photos universal apps on PC and Phone for Win10

The People Hub app will also get a make-over.
The Music app, will now allow you to add locally stored music from your PC and you will be able to play them on your Phone (I guess, this was that rumor we heard about Onedrive being able to play music).
A new Maps app will allow you to find a destination on your PC and navigate using your WP. The new Maps app will also remind you where you parked your car.

New Browser: Project Spartan
The rumored Spartan browser was finally revealed by Joe B. it is still in its early stages of development and as such will not be available in the beta builds until a few months, but will first come to PCs before making its way to Phones.
The browser was built from the ground up and has Cortana built in. You can make comments on web pages, and also easy way to share web content is now possible. If you are on a tablet you can use a stylus to mark up important content and share with colleagues, friends or family.

Xbox and Windows 10:

With Windows 10, you will be able to power on your Xbox from your Win10 PC in your home and even stream your games to your PC or laptop and play from there, making the Xbox act like a game server!
But the biggest Xbox/Win10 news was that you will be able to play across platforms, that is, you can play with a friend who is playing on his PC, PC gamers can play online with Xbox gamers! Sweet!
Even as a PlayStation gamer, I am quite impressed by this.

Microsoft revealed a couple of new Hardware: The Surface Hub and the Microsoft HoloLens.

The Surface Hub is an 80-inch digital whiteboard made for the enterprise. Imagine you are in a meeting and everyone can collaborate seamlessly using this Surface Hub and after the meeting, it's contents are synced to everyone involved to their OneNote! But that's just the tip of the iceberg.



The Microsoft HoloLens is cutting edge, for years all we have seen are concepts of holographic technology but during the Win10 event, for the first time in FOREVER, we get to see an actual demo of holograms and it was breath taking! I should write about this more in a separate article, so stay tuned!

So that's a quick summary of the event.

Here are a few things I was expecting to see...

The flyout/mixview tiles? What happened? Maybe still in development?
The feature that allows you to make calls and send/receive text from your PC natively? That wasn't shown or mentioned.
One Windows store, it wasn't even hinted. There has been rumors that there will be one store for all Windows devices.

Microsoft is working hard at bringing a lot to Windows 10, so I guess we just have to be a bit patient!










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