The days of Windows 8.1 are nearing an end, as Microsoft began unveiling all the new goodies for the upcoming Windows 10 at their event for "Windows 10: The Next Chapter." One of the announcements at the event relates to Microsoft's Outlook email client. With Windows 10 they're launching a new universal version of Outlook, which is set to work on PC's, smartphones, and tablets. Whether or not this is strictly going to be limited to Windows phones and tablets remains to be seen at this time, but with Microsoft's recently more open approach to making their software available to other platforms, it wouldn't be too far fetched to see this universal version make its way to Android at some point.
They're also going to be launching a new touch-friendly version of Microsoft office, which will also be available through smartphones and tablets just like their new universal version of Outlook. This new suite of Office apps is also taking a universal approach, which we'll be seeing with a lot of Microsoft's forthcoming products and services. Windows 10 is supposed to be all about unification, and to do that they're going to be making things as seamlessly accessible from all platforms as possible. Microsoft stated that the three major apps for Office will all come with a touch based interface for smartphones and tablets, which includes Word, Powerpoint, and Excel, all made easier for small screen viewing with documents. They're also including wireless printing and miracast broadcasting which should make things ever more useful. One of the best features of this upcoming new suite though is the list of recent documents that will show up for users, which will be accessible on multiple devices with smaller screens. So for example, if you start some documents on a Windows 10 based tablet, you'll be able to see those in a recent list on any number of Windows 10 based phones or other windows 10 based devices all connected to your account.
Following the trend of making things universal, Microsoft is taking a page out of Google's book with a universal photos app that will be compatible across smartphones and the PC platform. This is going to make things fairly all inclusive, taking the photos from OneDrive as well as those physically stored on your device and merging them all into one application for easy management. You know how Google+ and the photos app on Android devices automatically adds some improvements and enhancements to photos? Microsoft is introducing something like this for their new Windows 10 photos app as well, allowing for things like automatic red eye removal and other effects. Photos will be more organizational too, with albums that can be automatically created within the app based on different criteria like time, location and date.
When we said that Microsoft is focusing on making things universal with Windows 10, we meant truly universal, which is carrying through some of the more advanced and new technology they're looking to bring to PC's and smaller screen devices like smartphones and tablets. We're talking about holographic apps. Windows introduced the likes of Holographic computing today as well as their tech that makes it all possible, the Microsoft HoloLens. With Microsoft's vision, this head worn holographic computer would allow things like placing virtual(holographic)objects on real life surfaces,(think about the way Tony Stark uses the 3D holographic models in the Iron Man movies, not quite like that, but you get the idea)and in front of the user that could be interacted with like everything was physically in front of you. The types of things this could be applied to are potentially vast, although gaming is the first thing that comes to mind with something like this. Microsoft is building the API's for this technology into all Windows 10 platforms, and they're making it so that even regular apps can be transitioned into carrying the holographic ability to be used with the HoloLens. The lenses themselves on the HoloLens headset are see through so they shouldn't interrupt the user's vision, and they include spatial sound so the wearer can easily hear what's behind them and hear more accurately where sounds are coming from. It's all sounding very futuristic but very, very cool.
Now for the gamers. Microsoft is taking a huge focus to gaming with Windows 10, allowing for cross platform game streaming from Xbox One to Windows 10 PC's. Windows has always been the preferred platform gaming on computers, and that hasn't changed. We've already seen some applications of cross platform game streaming through Nvidia's shield tablet using their GRID software, enabling users to stream games from their Steam account to the tablet. Microsoft is taking things in a slightly different direction with allowing users to play the Xbox One games on a Windows 10 PC. This will work with any Xbox One game, so there's no limitations on what you can play through the PC, but the PC and the console do have to be connected to the same local network for this feature to work. It would have been much cooler if Microsoft would be allowing the streaming capability to laptops on WiFi connections anywhere you are, but let's take things in baby steps. This is certainly a huge advancement for those interested in PC and console gaming via the Xbox platform.
As we stated above, Microsoft is making everything with Windows 10 a complete unification experience from all fronts. Making things seamless and usable across Windows 10 PC's smartphones, and tablets. They're eliminating the barriers between real world computing and holographic computing and the barriers between PC gaming and gaming on a console. Microsoft wants everything to work together as a sort of massive computing platform. It'll be interesting to see where this all goes and how things work once it launches commercially.