Skip to main content

Windows 10 is a balancing act

A unified approach

When Terry Myerson joked that they'd wanted to call the new version Windows One to match Xbox One and OneDrive, he made a more serious point that Windows is one platform for lots of different devices, from sensors to data centers, smartphones to consoles.

That's where we need the continuum of interfaces Microsoft has only talked about, that will make sense of everything from phones to tablets to desktops to 85" touchscreens.

It's likely we won't see that until new devices (including perhaps the Surface Mini) come along, and it's where Microsoft needs to deliver on Myerson's promise that Windows 10 deserves the name "because we're not building an incremental version of Windows."

In an obvious reference to the Threshold code name for future Windows touch interfaces, he claimed "We're at a point where we carry forward all that's good in Windows and step across into a new way of doing things."

But we haven't quite seen that. We haven't yet seen the new tablet mode for switching from keyboard to touch in action and given that hybrid PCs like the Surface Pro are the area of the PC market that's seeing some of the biggest growth in sales, Microsoft can't afford to lose the users who have bought in to touch in Windows

The best is still to come

We know there are plenty of changes still to come in Windows 10 from what we have seen, especially for the Charms. That's where Microsoft has the trickiest balancing act to achieve; keeping touch users from feeling they're being asked to take a step backwards and adopt Windows 7.5.

We're also going to have to wait until early next year to see the consumer features like Cortana that will sell Windows 10 to enthusiasts as well. So far, Windows 10 is full of useful, helpful, handy features that will make your life easier.

It also does away with some of the challenges that stopped businesses stepping into the modern Windows world, where they get the advantages of security, performance and better battery life.

Building a more modern management option and separation of business and personal data in containers under an interface that doesn't make desktop users feel they have to learn a new way of working, is the definition of compromise.

That's what businesses have been asking for and what we see in the technical preview is an acceptable compromise; but Windows 10 will need to be more than that. And we won't find out how much more it is until next year.