It’s time to review Windows 10! Microsoft’s newest OS had a very public run in its Preview BETA form, but now the official release is here! Let’s kick the tires and take it for a spin!
Rumors have been swirling that a Microsoft phone shakeup was in the works. Recently sparked by internal discussion of “touch choices” facing Microsoft, and how the CEO Satya Nadella might completely scrap the Windows Phone line of products to focus on moving Microsoft apps to iOS and Android.
For fans of Live Tiles, thankfully that doesn’t seem to be the case in light of a new employee memo from Nadella.
Microsoft will be moving forward with new phone hardware, but will be reducing the number of offerings. The Lumia line is kind of a mess leading up to the release of Windows 10. Currently consumers can pick from 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900, 1300, and 1500 series phones made within the last year. It’s a confusing collection with lots of product overlap.
In the near term, we will run a more effective phone portfolio, with better products and speed to market given the recently formed Windows and Devices Group. We plan to narrow our focus to three customer segments where we can make unique contributions and where we can differentiate through the combination of our hardware and software. We’ll bring business customers the best management, security and productivity experiences they need; value phone buyers the communications services they want; and Windows fans the flagship devices they’ll love.
-CEO Satya Nadella
This year we got an early glimpse at the future of this strategy with the entry level Lumia 640 and 640XL. Now it seems very likely we’ll see Microsoft whittle down this collection to six individual phones. Entry level, mid-range, and flagship. At each of those three tiers we’ll probably see a “normal” sized phone and a “phablet” with the XL designation.
Though industry layoffs are always a sad story, fans of the platform can certainly benefit from more focus. You can read Nadella’s full email below.
Here it comes folks!
Microsoft has officially announced that Windows 10 will be available for consumers starting July 29th. Cortana, a new browser called “Edge”, Continuum, new photo and Office apps will all be available for free for people on Windows 7 and Windows 8 PC’s.
We can also expect to see new hardware running Windows 10, and many have their fingers crossed for new Windows Phones to be launched at the same time.
You can read Microsoft’s full press release below.
As part of their roll out for Windows 10, Microsoft will be making their services as accessible as possible to people on all operating systems. They’ll be delivering music apps, for example, which will tie into OneDrive for people to stream their entire music collection anywhere they have data.
Most interesting however is the recent reveal that their digital assistant Cortana will also be going cross platform. Syncing any phone with a Windows 10 PC will setup their companion app which provides deep integration with services on the phone.
Similar to Google Now and Siri, Cortana can look for relevant information in emails and calendar entries, and can respond to voice commands. She’s become popular for having a bit more personality than offerings from Google or Apple.
It’s an interesting move from Microsoft as they shift away from making popular services exclusive to their ecosystem, and opens the door to broad adoption from people on every platform. You can catch more info in their announcement video below.
***Update for tech clarification at the end***
The Windows Phone platform has often been criticized for a lack of apps. Windows 10 will bring new tools for developers to create universal apps that run on Phones, Tablets, Laptops, Hybrids, Desktops, and the XBox.
Yet it can still be difficult courting developers to stray from the iOS and Android duopoly. There have been rumors swirling that Microsoft would be allowing ported Android apps to run on Windows 10, and at the Build Developer conference Microsoft took it one step further.
New tools will be provided to easily transition Java and C++ apps from Android, and developers will also be able to transition Objective C apps from iOS to Windows Phone.
Developers typically focus on iOS first to bring new services to market thanks to the consistency of Apple’s ecosystem. Conceivably, those same developers can invest far fewer resources to bring that service to EVERY device running Windows 10 than moving that same app to Android.
There’s now even less of a barrier for developers to bring services to the Windows ecosystem, especially as Microsoft expects Windows 10 to be on over one billion devices within the first year of release, handily outpacing the number of gadgets running iOS 8 or Android 5.0.
For those wondering, Microsoft will be adding a subsystem to Windows 10 that can run Android Open Source Project software. The APK’s which install Android apps will be installed directly, in a secure partition, though if apps call certain API’s or depend on services Google wont allow on Windows, then obviously the app wont work. Microsoft will be providing tools to easily port certain actions, say an App calls for Google Now, it can be pointed over to look for Cortana instead.
For iOS apps, Microsoft is providing software for devs to completely recompile apps written in Objective C. iPhone apps will not be running in Windows Phone in the same way Android apps will run in a little emulation pocket.
While we’ll have to wait for Windows 10 on more devices to see the fruits of Android APK support, Microsoft has already released the iOS re-compiler for free, which hopefully means we’ll start seeing iOS services show up in the Windows store soon.
Back in September we got our first look at the next version of Windows. It was a somewhat underwhelming affair, detailing the next steps Microsoft will take to retain their lead in corporate computing, and the gist of that announcement was focused on how to make their current version of Windows feel more like their last version of Windows.
But there’s a whole wide world of devices out now, and manufacturers are starting to deliver on hardware that blurs the lines between consumer tablets, laptops, desktops, and workstations. Taking the stage, Terry Myerson, Executive VP of Operating Systems, thanked the Windows Insider participants for their interactions with the Windows 10 BETA. Microsoft is working hard to make this version feel like it’s been built from a community perspective.
The focus moving forward is on ecosystem and tying data and devices together. Being able to move seamlessly from device to device with data and apps intact, for both business and consumer solutions, creating a “global” platform. Continue reading Microsoft Windows 10 Announcement: OS Updates, XBOX Gaming Cross Platform, and HoloLens Augmented Reality!
I can’t tell you how excited I am to see a full fledged video editor on Windows Phone. Now with some of the best cameras ever bolted onto our smartphones, we now have the ability to cut up high resolution video directly from the phones that shot it. Best of all this app is cross platform for any Windows device with a touch screen.
Here’s our full review, feature walk through, and tutorial of Movie Creator on Windows Phone 8.1! Enjoy!