Microsoft Wants to be Loved Again

To paraphrase Satya Nadella, Microsoft wants to move from people needing Windows, to choosing Windows, to loving Windows. Two years ago, Microsoft made Windows 8. Now, no one is buying their phones. No one is making tablets that run Windows. Mere inches from becoming irrelevant, it wants to reinvent itself. Under a new boss, it shows off where it is going.

Published: 01st February 2015 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th January 2015 02:55 AM   |  A+A-

Over the years, Microsoft struggled with the names of its operating systems. Last year there was Windows 8, Windows RT and Windows Phone 8. With Windows 10, the company wants to usher in a new vision which makes everything simpler and eliminates confusion. The vision is: whatever device you use, you use one operating system. Windows 10. To achieve this, to make the transition seamless between computers that use traditional pointing devices like mouse and tablet computers that use touchscreen, the company is providing the users with an option called Continuum to switch between the modes either automatically—for example when you detach a keyboard—or through a dedicated button.

Surface Hub is Microsoft’s 84-inch, 4K touch screen that runs Windows 10. Filled with technologies like NFC and Bluetooth and sporting many cameras, mics and speakers, it is a huge computer that is supposed to be used in offices with the help of styluses. Anything that happens on the Hub, like writing on a white background and powerpoint presentations, can be synced across devices running Windows 10. Using Microsoft’s Skype integration, colleagues on the other side of the world can join in and write, and share on the same screen making meetings more productive.

Cortana, the personal digital assistant, has been Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s Siri and Google’s Google Now and for the first time, it makes the jump from smartphones to personal computers. It needs to be accessed using the home button on a phone. It can be accessed through a button beside the start button on the desktop. Responding to spoken commands and typed queries, Cortana on desktop does everything that a good digital assistant is supposed to do like answering queries, searching for documents, launching apps, searching Bing etcetera. Since it learns about you over time either through your queries or through what you want it to know through a notebook, Cortana can also be very pro-active and can provide you with news alerts, provide information about your flights and can even point towards where you parked your car.

Years after its default browser became the most hated piece of technology on the Internet, Microsoft is coming up with a Google Chrome-esque browser in Windows 10 which for now has a codename ‘Project Spartan’. When available, it will be light-weight and clean. It comes with Microsoft services like MS Office and One Drive, lets you take notes by drawing on it and comes with a ‘reading mode’ which works just like Apple’s Safari by giving you a syncable reading list that is easier on the eyes.

There is no way around it. Microsoft Hololens is a computer you wear on your face. Where Google Glass contented itself with beaming some images on your one eyeball, the Hololens goes the full mile and puts a visor-like device with three different screens in front of your eyes. While Microsoft would like to call them holograms, what the Hololens does is a little more low-tech. It is an augmented reality device that projects images on to the real world objects so only the wearer can see them. Unlike the Glass which needs to connect to a phone, the Hololens will be a full-fledged Windows 10 computer that will let you do things like play Minecraft on your coffee table, make Skype calls on your living room wall and take your friend’s help to change a light bulb even if you will look ridiculous doing it. With plans for NASA to use it for operating the Mars Rover, Microsoft has announced that the Hololens will be available in the ‘timeframe’ of Windows 10.

You are on a train and you need to play that Xbox game on your TV before you left home. With Microsoft’s new vision for Windows 10 you can do just that. When it comes to the market, Windows 10 will come with a Xbox app on every device and will let you stream games from your Xbox connected to the TV. So you can play those games, use your PC or tablet to compete with someone using the Xbox, and record clips of gameplay.


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