Windows 10-powered Surface Hub brings interactive whiteboards kicking and screaming into the 21st century
Surface got off to something of a stuttering start, but Microsoft's sort-of-tablet/sort-of-laptop has gained quite a following as it hit the third generation. With the launch of Windows 10 on the cards, the company is now thinking about not just software, but also new hardware formats. We've seen HoloLens, but the device that could transform both work and education is the Surface Hub.
Announced as an 84-inch Surface, it would be easy to dismiss this as a headline-grabbing gimmick, but it's more than that. Much more than that. It's a tool for the office, a tool for enterprise, and a tool for schools and colleges. This is Microsoft showing how Windows 10 can be used for collaborative work, bringing the interactive whiteboard kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
Microsoft made some long expected announcements today -- the return of the start menu, one version of Windows 10 across all devices and an attempt to make Windows apps work across those same devices. Unfortunately, the limited overlap between Windows PC developers and mobile developers makes the latter a weak proposition. On the other hand, Microsoft's HoloLens headset may have some potential.
I have long been a believer in the long-term potential of "field of vision" devices (AR and VR) for one simple reason -- despite their downsides, their potential benefits cannot be matched by existing computing platforms. In my opinion, this is a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for triggering a new market disruption. While we are still in the early stages of the technology (think first mobile phone, not first smartphone), I believe we could see increasing consumer interest in this category over the next five years.
Microsoft told us a lot about Windows 10 yesterday (it's free!), as well as the future direction of some other interesting projects such as HoloLens and the Spartan browser. We did get a brief glimpse at the touch-friendly versions of Office apps for Windows 10, but today Microsoft also reveals more about the next desktop release -- Office 2016.
In keeping with Microsoft's latest vision, the focus with Office moving forward is "mobile-first, cloud-first". We'll be able to try out Office for Windows 10 very soon as the universal apps are due for release for Windows 10 Technical Preview very soon, and the final version will be pre-installed -- for free -- on phones and small tablets. Some of this we knew yesterday, but talk of Office 2016 is new!
Microsoft's Windows 10 has tight Skype integration -- are Google Hangouts and Apple iMessage in danger?
I have been having difficulty staying in touch with friends and family lately. The problem? Everybody is using different services! Apple fans are on iMessage and Facetime. Google users are on Hangouts. Other people embrace Facebook Messager or SMS. Quite frankly, it is maddening. Lately, I have been considering embracing Skype, as it works on Windows, Linux, OS X, iOS, Android and Windows Phone. In other words, I don't have to worry about the platform the other person is on. I can have my friends and family use Skype to get in contact with me.
Luckily, Windows 10 will have Skype installed by default, meaning every user of that operating system can easily access it. I will not have to instruct people how to download and install it -- this is huge. Not only is it installed, but tightly integrated into the OS. Plus, with Lync being transformed into Skype for Business, Microsoft's communication solution may be poised to dominate.
Windows 10 is shaping up to be the best Windows yet. I am still wrapping my head around it, but after going through most of the changes I think there are a ton of things to like about it, which is an astonishing achievement. Microsoft really managed to surprise me, and I didn't expect that, to be perfectly honest.
However, what seals the deal for me is how all the changes tie together. I can now say that there are clear benefits to using the latest Windows across all devices that support it. It makes total sense, for the first time. In fact, without even trying the new Preview release, I am sold on Windows 10. Count me in as one of the first to make the switch on all of my devices!
Yesterday’s Windows 10 briefing was weird. I mean that in a good way. Microsoft went all Apple on us, aping much of the style and presentation of its rival, right down to the "one more thing" which turned out to be a crazy holographic nerd helmet that was nowhere near finished and can’t yet do most of the things claimed for it. But has potential.
In the aftermath of the presentation tech writers began asking questions like "When did Apple become the boring one?", and that would have raised a smile or two at Redmond. Microsoft needed to shake off its reputation of a firm which makes dull, or flawed "me too" products, and for the main I think it succeeded.
Just yesterday Microsoft held its big Windows 10 event -- you likely may have seen something in the news about it. Sort of hard to miss. There was much more to the show than just a new operating system. Surprises included HoloLens and more. One thing that featured prominently was the company's gaming console.
Yes, Xbox will be a part of Windows 10, and a big one if Phil Spencer is to be believed. The head of this wing of Microsoft did an extensive presentation during the event. According to Spencer, games are about being social, and that is one of the things the company tried to work into this. He also talks about gaming as a personal experience.
Today's Microsoft event was almost entirely about Windows 10 as expected, but there were a couple of surprises too. Among these was HoloLens a virtual reality, augmented reality, Google Glass hybrid that makes use of holograms for a totally immersive experience. We're used to Microsoft offering a unique window on the world, but this is something completely different.
Like Google Glass and virtual reality systems before it, HoloLens relies on a headset, and this is used to overlay holographic objects onto physical objects in the real world. Like the idea of a massive monitor filling your living room wall? Rather than splashing out on a colossal screen, HoloLens could make it appear as though you have the screen of your dreams.
The Windows 10 briefing offered up a lot of interesting things, but with a running time of just under two and a half hours, you are going to need to really, really love Microsoft and Windows to sit through it all.
Fortunately, you don’t need to commit yourself to the full briefing as Microsoft has rolled out a 7.25 minute video covering the highlights.
At the Windows 10 event today, Microsoft had a lot to talk about -- not least that Windows 10 itself will be free. But Windows 10 is all about the details, and on top of the likes of Cortana and the new notification center, Corporate Vice President of Operating Systems at Microsoft, Joe Belfiore, also revealed Spartan, the web browser that will replace Internet Explorer in Windows 10.
That's not to say that Internet Explorer is dead and buried. You'll still find the famous blue e icon waiting to be clicked if you want, but Spartan will be the new default browser. So what does Spartan have to offer that will act as a lure away from Chrome and Firefox? To kick things off, there's Cortana support.
Windows 10 will be free for Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 users… but there's a catch [Updated]
So the Windows 10 briefing is well underway, and Microsoft has already dropped a bombshell, although it’s one that many people will have been expecting.
If you have Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows Phone 8.1 you will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. That’s right, it won’t cost you a single penny. And who doesn’t love free? Now the bad news… it's only free if you upgrade in the first year.
In the world of searches, there's one name that rules supreme -- Google. But new figures show that while the search giant is still the most popular way to track down content online, it is starting to lose ground to Microsoft and Yahoo. The latest statistics from comScore are in broad agreement with those published by StatCounter a couple of weeks ago.
Both sets of numbers agree that Microsoft and Yahoo are eating into Google's lead when we look at US searches conducted in December and compare them to November. While Big G will not be happy to see that its grip on the search crown is loosening slightly, the company has little to fear just yet.
Microsoft didn’t livestream its Windows 10 reveal last September, mostly because it wasn’t a product launch as such, or even a presentation aimed at consumers (it was more just a name announcement and a quick run through of the features). The software giant will, however, be livestreaming today’s Windows 10 briefing.
Called "Windows 10: The Next Chapter", the event will include presentations from Terry Myerson, Joe Belfiore, Phil Spencer and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and cover the consumer side of the new operating system. We’re also expecting to find out more about Windows 10 Mobile.
No matter how much Windows Phone has progressed, it feels like it will always be held back by its app store. Lots of nice titles continue to be unavailable, despite claims of the so-called "app-gap" closing. It is not, clearly. When top developers eventually release their apps on the platform, they usually come long after their Android and iOS counterparts and are rarely updated. Let's not even talk about feature parity, which is a huge issue on its own. Of course, that is if those top developers can be convinced to support Windows Phone in the first place, which isn't always the case. It's not an easy thing to do.
Windows Phone Store is also not helped by the developers who decide to abandon or leave the platform altogether. The latest blow is dealt by Chase Bank, which has supported Windows Phone for more than two years. It just announced that it will take the latter route, packing its bags and leaving the platform in just a few days.
Twitter is my favorite social media site because it is easy to use. There aren't tons of privacy "gotchas" like on some other sites. I can log in, share my thoughts in 140 characters and be done. Best of all, the time line is basically chronological. On Facebook, I have no idea what the heck is going on -- the order of posts sometimes seem to be random.
So if I like Twitter for its simplicity, I should also want to Tweet without much effort too, right? Right. In a new update for Windows Phone, users can now send Tweets using Cortana. Will you use her to relay your social media communiques?