Microsoft made several new announcements about its upcoming Windows 10 release at yesterday’s Build 2015 event. Some of the company’s moves were lauded by the attendees and the developer community in general, while others could help Microsoft once again become a dominant power in the platform market.
Microsoft says Windows 10 will be on a billion devices within the three years
Microsoft has got big hopes for its upcoming Windows 10 OS, and says that it wants to see the software powering a billion devices within the next two to three years. The company hopes to achieve this goal by providing free upgrades, offer new devices and focus on serving enterprise customers.
However, the hardest bit for Microsoft to achieve this goal isn’t new customer acquisition, but figuring out a way of bringing users of its older platforms onto its newest one. Also, if the company can even prove its on track to achieving such large user numbers, the famous Windows app drought could be addressed.
Windows 10 will run reworked Android and iOS apps
Microsoft has made it possible for iOS and Android developers to port their apps to run on Windows 10. The company has enabled the functionality by rolling out two new SDKs, allowing Android devs to use Java and C++ code on Windows 10, while iOS devs can continue using Objective C code.
The move is in line with getting more apps onto the Windows 10 store, with devs not requiring to completely rebuild apps in order to run them on Windows. Alongside Android and iOS apps, the company is also creating a way for websites to run inside Windows universal apps, broadening the possibilities of what can be done.
Microsoft Edge, the replacement for Internet Explorer
Microsoft told us it will replace Internet Explorer with an all-new browser on Windows 10, and after releasing a few test builds of Project Spartan, finally announced the name of its new browser – Edge.
The name most probably comes from the moniker Microsoft gave to its rendering engine – EdgeHTML, that it is using for the Windows 10 browser. Unlike the incomplete Project Spartan builds, Microsoft showed off Cortana integration, a built-in reading list and digital ink annotations for Edge.
Smartphone as a PC
Microsoft showed us a glimpse of Continuum back at its previous Build Conference, allowing tablets and convertible PCs to seamlessly switch between being optimised for non-touch and touch use. Now Microsoft has unveiled Continuum for Phones, allowing a smartphone running Windows 10 transform into a PC.
That’s obviously not entirely true, but when a smartphone is connected to a large monitor, the OS can mimic that of the desktop version very well, and thanks to universal Windows apps, the same applications too can be run. It’s a take on a concept people have played with in the past, but has largely failed. To be true, Microsoft’s execution is the best so far.
Windows Spotlight (Lock Screen)
Microsoft has unveiled an all new lockscreen for Windows 10, one that will change over time based on how a person uses their computer. The lock screen looks a lot like the Bing search homepage, with hotspots that users can mouse over to get more information.
The new feature is being called Windows Spotlight, and should function as a tool to get people introduced to Windows 10 and other Microsoft services. However, it’s a fine line Microsoft will have to draw between Spotlight being truly useful and just being a service that promotes its services.