Microsoft will offer free upgrades to Windows 10 for the first year after the operating system launches, Microsoft’s executive vice president of Operating Systems Terry Myerson said on 21 January 2015.
Addressing journalists at a press event held at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington, Myerson said the free upgrade will be available to Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1 users.
Once a device is upgraded to Windows 10, Microsoft will keep it current for the “supported lifetime for the device”.
“You can think of Windows as one of the largest Internet services on the planet,” said Myerson.
Just like all other online services, the question “what version are you running” will cease to make sense, he added.
“But what about enterprise?” Myerson asked.
“We will continue to support the way Windows works today, with long term branches and long term support,” he said.
Windows 10 is currently in preview via the Windows Insider Programme. Microsoft has previously said it will be available by “fall 2015” (September – December 2015).
Bye bye Internet Explorer
Microsoft also announced Project Spartan – its new web browser.
“We think it’s the right time to build a new browser for the modern web,” Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president for the Operating Systems group at Microsoft told journalists.
Built on Microsoft’s new cross-device application framework, Belfiore said they were focusing on three “significant features”:
- Note-taking directly on a web page, with either touch using your finger or pen, or with a keyboard.
- Reading Mode and Reading List, providing layout and offline reading features similar to those in Safari, as well as Pocket and Instapaper.
- Cortana integration. Microsoft will be bringing its voice assistant software from Windows Phone to the desktop version of Windows 10, and will also integrate it into its new browser.
Project Spartan will come to the Windows Insider Programme in the next “3, 4, 5 months,” Belfiore said, explaining that features will be rolled out at different times.
Last up, Microsoft revealed Windows Holographic and an accompanying headset and holographic computer: Microsoft HoloLens.
Alex Kipman, who worked on Kinect and is a technical fellow in the operating systems group at Microsoft, made the announcement.
“In software nothing is impossible,” Kipman said. “At best, things are improbable.”
He said that holographic application programming interfaces are enabled in all Windows 10 builds, and that all Windows universal apps can be made to support holograms.
“Windows universal apps” refers to applications built on Microsoft’s new cross-device framework for Windows 10 and lets developers build their applications for desktop PCs, tablets, mobile phones — and now holograms.”
Kipman went on to say that to realise their vision for holograms in everyday computing they invented the world’s most advanced holographic computer, dubbed Microsoft HoloLens.
Essentially, HoloLens is a see-through display that you wear on your head, much like a virtual reality headset.
Except instead of creating a virtual reality, it creates holograms in the real world, Kipman said.
Microsoft HoloLens will support holograms natively without markers or external cameras, said Kipman. Neither will it require wires, a phone, or a connection to a PC.
“This will be available in the Windows 10 timeframe,” Kipman said.