The Microsoft desktop Future: Meet Windows 10, Project Spartan, Cortana, Universal apps, Xbox and more

Windows 10 launch

Microsoft has today unveiled its future Windows 10 operating system and the company has given a full preview of what consumers can expect when the software is released later this year across desktops, smartphones, and tablets. We saw Windows 10 back last year in September which revealed several changes — a modernized Start Menu, better multitasking with Task View, and UI improvements among them — Today’s event was mainly focused on what Windows 10 will mean for its millions of Windows users. Windows 10 also includes Project Spartan, Cortana, Universal apps, Xbox and more.

In the new improvements you’ll be able to enlarge the Start Screen to full screen instead of the Windows 7-style start menu. Windows Phone’s Action Center has come to the desktop, which provides instant access to common tasks like enabling or shutting off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other settings. In this new version, Notifications are synced across all devices. This is similar to Apple’s continuity feature.

Design and interface improvements

Windows 10 launch_UI improvements

With Windows 10, Microsoft has seriously paid attention to design details, with refreshed and more modern icons following their flat design philosophy. Even the round edged apps like chrome have been flattened, and everything feels more cohesive and consistent compared to the early Windows 10 release.

New universal apps for PC

One of the major changes for Microsoft in Windows 10 is the new “one app for all devices” strategy. The first app to face the knife is MS Outlook, the company has provided a detailed styling and extra formatting capabilities no matter what device you’re checking your email from it will fit just right. Now, desktop users can also personalize Outlook with a background image of their choice.

Windows 10 launch_universal apps

With Universal Apps, apps look and function consistently across devices,  and today Microsoft has shown off a new sleek Metro-style Calendar app that’s consistent across PCs, tablets, and phones.  Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage has gotten much smarter, you are now able to automatically enhance and edit photos just like in Google + in their Photos app. That is not all, Windows 10 users can expect new apps for People, Maps, and Music, as well.

Project Spartan is the future browser

Windows 10 launch_startanThe new browser has been rumored in the past few weeks, and it’s true Microsoft has indeed been working hard on a new web browser. Still referred to as Project Spartan. Just like we reported before, Microsoft showed off  the browser’s support for touch and annotation. Highlighting something on a page is as simple as circling your finger around it.

There is also a new Reading Mode which puts articles in a layout that’s easier to read. Reading List is a feature that will help sync content across phones, tablets, and PCs for later; something we’ve seen a similar implementation in Apple’s  iOS and OS X for some time now. But what Apple doesn’t have in its browser is Cortana. Microsoft’s personal assistant is everywhere in Project Spartan.

Cortana is now a powerful search

Windows 10 launch_cortana

We have seen Microsoft’s personal digital assistant in Smartphones for quiet some time now, and today  Microsoft has brought this experience to the desktop. Cortana will bring her powerful search and reminder capabilities to Windows 10. You can essentially have a conversation with Cortana as Microsoft demonstrated on stage. Unlike the sometimes robotic responses you’ll hear from Apple’s Siri and Google’s Google Now, Cortana speaks with a natural, conversational flow.

Windows 10 comes to Xbox One

Gaming is getting a monumental push in Windows 10. There is a  new Xbox app which enables Game DVR for sharing clips of most PC games with your friends — and all this will be sent across Xbox Live, so Xbox One owners can watch as well. You’ll see a universal friends list with Xbox gamers on console and Windows, full messaging support, and an activity feed that shows you what everyone’s doing.

Windows 10 launch_xbox

The Windows 10 upgrade will be free for current Windows 7 and 8 users for the first year.

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