Microsoft announces Windows 10, holograms, a giant Surface tablet, and the end of Internet Explorer

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  • January 23, 2015

Earlier this week Microsoft held a Windows 10 technical event where they also introduced two new devices, as well as a new development model for the Windows platform in the form of holographic computing.

Windows 10

No, you didn’t blink and miss Windows 9, for a number of reasons Microsoft skipped the “9” moniker and went directly to Windows 10.

windows_10_0

Windows 7 is still the most popular desktop operating system, holding around 56% market share. In an effort to get Windows users up to date, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 will be offered as a free upgrade to current users of Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 7 during the first year.

Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President of the Operating Systems group said, “this so much more than a free one-time upgrade.” Once installed, Windows 10 will be kept continually “current” throughout the lifecycle of the device.

Myerson said that unlike previous versions of the OS, Windows 10 will deliver a consistent yet tailored product family across all types of devices, from screenless sensors to all-in-one computers. The Windows 10 family will include versions for smartphones, tablets, wearables, hybrid tablet-laptops, TVs, PCs and the Xbox gaming console.

With Windows 10, the Cortana voice system currently in Windows 8 mobile version will also work on desktop devices and for the first time.

 

HoloLens

Microsoft-HoloLens-Skype-RGB1

Holograms! Well, not really but never let the exact truth get in the way of a product name, even if a projected image of Terry Myerson, the executive vice president of Microsoft’s Operating Systems group said, “I’m a freakin’ hologram!” during the launch presentation.

Windows 10 will ship with in-built holographic capabilities allowing developers to incorporate the experience in their own applications. Apparently NASA has already been playing with the tech and like it.

So how do you see these holographic images? With Microsoft’s new headset dubbed HoloLens – a wearable Augmented Reality headset that overlays hologram-like images in the real world. Unlike an actual hologram, you have to be wearing the HoloLens headset to see them.

I can only assume that someone at Microsoft is a fan of the “Back to the Future” franchise, because the look of the HoloLens can’t be a coincidence.

Back-to-the-Future-glasses

Above –Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future II, set in 2015
Below – Microsoft’s HoloLens, launched in 2015

Microsoft HoloLens

Despite Google announcing the end of the Glass project in it’s current form last week, your head seems to be the next destination for wearable tech after your wrist with Facebook-owned Oculus, Samsung’s Gear VR, Sulon, Salon and more all competing to be your headset of choice.

Here’s the HoloLens introduction video

 

Surface Hub

Microsoft Surface Hub

Most people would now be aware of Microsoft’s Surface technology, with ads for the Surface 3, pitched as a tablet and laptop saturating the airwaves.

Not everyone will remember the original Surface – a US$8,500 smart table that probably nobody knew existed unless you watched a Microsoft-sponsored show on CBS.

The new 84” (214cm) “Surface Hub” is essentially a giant Surface tablet/TV designed for business> The unit comes complete with a 4K display, built-in Skype Business video conferencing, cameras, speakers, microphones, and NFC. It allows meeting attendees to “push” presentations to the hub, use it as a digital whiteboard to mark up presentations and then share the content with all participants.

 

The end of Internet Explorer?

Move over IE, Project Spartan will be the new web browsing experience for Windows 10. The new browser will feature an all-new rendering engine. What isn’t clear is what the official name Project Spartan will have when Windows 10 hits the market. It may well get called Internet Explorer.

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