At today's Windows 10 event Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella set forth an ambitious goal to make its latest operating system "the most loved release of Windows." Those are some big words from the Redmond company especially after the PC user crowd's chilly reception towards Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.
Personally, as a Windows 7 holdout who has never willingly touched Windows 8 and 8.1 aside from having the OS thrust upon me on laptop review units, Windows 10 has to do some pretty spectacular things in order to win me over.
Surprisingly there's a large number of features that have piqued my interest finally into upgrading the operating system on my home PC tower.
The price of free
It's hard to turn your ear away from anything when it's free, especially when free OS upgrades have been completely unheard of from the Microsoft. Taking a page out of Apple's book, Windows 7 and 8 users will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 completely free of charge.
Of course, this deal also comes with the caveat it will only be available for one year. Microsoft also likely has ulterior motive to try and migrate all its users over to its newest version of its software – though I can't really blame the software maker. It would be so much easier to keep updating one OS with features and security patches, especially in lieu of Windows 7 mainstream support has ended.
By your devices combined
One of the most repeated catchphrases of the entire Windows 10 event was the "Mobility of the Experience." It's one of Windows 10's new tenets that will allow to users to switch between devices using the same applications. Users will be able to effectively use a new suite of universal applications, allowing them to do things like editing a word document on their phone and sliding it over to their desktop for a closer look. Alternatively, it also means being able to work on a PowerPoint slideshow and then throw it onto a tablet for a presentation.
It's a feature that's very similar to Continuity between iOS devices and Macs running OS X Yosemite. The main difference is Microsoft has made many of these same Office apps on available for free on Android and Apple devices, which could mean universal apps will sync with other mobile gadgets other than Windows 10 phones and tablets.
The possibilities of syncing files across an Android tablet, Mac, iPhone and my Windows PC is an exciting prospect, as well as it should be to most users and businesses.
Oddly enough new tight integration between the Xbox and the PC was one of the most exciting parts of the entire Windows 10 keynote that was glossed over quickly.
Not only are you able to freely explore the Xbox dashboard using a desktop app, users can also tune into Xbox streams without having to hog the big screen TV. What's more, PC gamers and console jockeys can finally play together in the same games. This cross-play features is a new addition some users have been clamoring about for years.
Plus there's the added feature of streaming any Xbox One game to your Windows 10 PC. I can only hope Microsoft will come up with some way for allowing users to buy games on both the PC and Xbox One similar to what Sony has done with titles users can play on both the PS4 or PS3 and PS Vita.
Talking a storm
As lazy and weird as it sounds, I can't wait to start talking to my computer. Apple has yet to integrate Siri into OS X yet – though you can do voice searches on MacBooks and Chrome OS - and so Cortana will be the first personal assistant available to desktops.
But Cortana isn't just a virtual avatar you can talk to and command. Like the smartphone version of the digital assistant, Cortana will intelligently learn more about you and perform functions like setting up appointments for you.
Coming into the Windows 10 event, I expected Microsoft to dial it in with a new operating system that returned to the tried and true style of Windows 7. At the conclusion of the event, however, there's a lot to be excited about with the new OS. Microsoft has doubled down on its cloud computing ambitions and a much more intuitive user interface for convertible laptops.
After the time spent trying to fix the mess that was Windows 8.1, Microsoft may have a great new OS on its hands that users, including Windows 7 holdouts, should upgrade to.
- After using Windows 10 for 110 day, see what we thought about Microsoft's latest operating system in our review