Microsoft has officially announced the new Windows 10, the next version of its popular operating system, skipping a number in its traditional naming convention.
The company jumped from the much-criticized Windows 8 straight to Windows 10, although it was expected to introduce a Windows 9 OS this year. Nevertheless, even the name itself suggests a more notable improvement over the current Windows 8, and that's exactly what Microsoft is aiming for.
Noting that it's "the most comprehensive platform ever," Microsoft said that its new Windows 10 aims to deliver "one tailored experience" to a full range of products for a more unified and simple experience.
"One way to look at it is that Windows is a threshold. It's time for a new Windows. This new Windows must be built from the ground-up for a mobile-first, cloud-first world. This new Windows must help our customers be productive in both their digital work and their digital life. This new Windows must empower people and organizations to do great things. That new Windows is Windows 10," reads a company announcement on the Windows blog.
"Windows 10 represents the first step of a whole new generation of Windows. Windows 10 unlocks new experiences for customers to work, play and connect. Windows 10 embodies what our customers (both consumers and enterprises) demand and what we will deliver."
The new Windows 10 bets big on responsive design and a tailored experience based on hardware types. Microsoft's Joe Belifiore showed off an early beta of the new OS version on Tuesday, Sept. 30, revealing a design reminiscent of the popular Windows 7. In fact, Belfiore highlighted that this design is intentional, as the company aimed to combine the familiarity of Windows 7 with the functionality of Windows 8.
While it borrows some of the functionality from Windows 8, the new version of Microsoft's OS brings some notable UI features. First of all, the series of Live Tiles will populate the Start Menu on the right side, while the familiar Windows 7-like series of pinned apps will be on the left, with the web and app search features located underneath. Users will be able to resize both the tiles and the Start Menu, and will even be able to expand beyond the confines of their monitor to scroll to the left or right and see the whole lineup of apps and tiles.
A refreshed taskbar, meanwhile, brings a new "task view" feature in Windows 10, which displays all running apps in each virtual desktop, while the current desktop will primarily appear on the screen. More specifically, it will primarily show the current desktop, but display a bunch of thumbnails on the bottom side, giving users the option to switch between desktops or add new ones. Moreover, the new Windows 10 also boasts command prompt, allowing for keyboard shortcuts and copy/paste. This may not be the greatest improvement, but many Windows users have been requesting such functionality for quite some time.
Perhaps the most exciting feature of Windows 10 is that it will dynamically adjust the UI based on what mode is in use. If you're using a keyboard and a mouse, for instance, the UI will not be the same as the one for the touch mode when tablets are in use.
Microsoft didn't offer many details regarding the Modern UI borrowed from Windows 8, but it nonetheless pointed out that it will show up as a "large Start Menu" when in touch mode, or a desktop experience when a keyboard and mouse are in use.
The company still has many features and functionality to unveil, but will offer more details on its latest Windows 10 over the course of next year, as the OS will launch in late 2015.
Lastly, the Windows Insider Program is also kicking off on Wednesday, Oct. 1, allowing tech-savvy consumers and IT professionals to try out the technical preview of Windows 10 for desktops and laptops.