Microsoft is making some ambitious goals with the next release of Windows – Windows 10. It’s not only targeted at the firm’s desktop/laptop users, but also Windows Phone and Xbox customers.

Windows 10 will be a common platform for the majority of devices that are used at home and work. The features include the ability to run the same application from any device and to be able to easily transition from one device to another.

Today, there are three different App Stores for Windows, Xbox and Phone. It’s very confusing and expensive to have to buy the same app for different devices. Microsoft will be consolidating all the App Stores and applications will be written once but run on all three platforms.

Designed to Run Everywhere

Windows 10 has many challenges ahead. Coming off of Windows 8.1, this new release aims to target all types of users, devices and experiences. Competitors rely on different versions of their operating systems to support tablets, desktops/laptops and other mobile devices. Windows 10 aims at consolidating all of this into a single user experience that can adapt to the customer regardless of what device they are using.

For example, the Continuum feature will allow a laptop to transform into a tablet, changing the user experience to accommodate a touch instead of a mouse/keyboard. By popular demand, the Start Menu is back. This staple of desktop and laptop users everywhere can be used while a mouse/keyboard is attached, then it can switch to the SmartScreen, which was released with Windows 8, when using a touchscreen.

Most of what users are asking for is to be able to work from multiple devices. For example, you start a Word doc on a desktop PC, save it to your OneDrive and then open it from your tablet. The tablet knows there isn’t a keyboard attached and changes into a touch-friendly UI, this includes a touch-friendly version of Office. Let’s say you’re done editing or reading on the tablet, then you have to catch a plane. No problem, use your smartphone running Windows 10, OneDrive and Office to continue editing or reviewing. All this happens seamless to the user, a consistent user experience that is fast and easy.

Reductions in Work and Cost

The more operating systems an IT group must support the more it costs. Reducing platforms and operating systems helps cut costs and streamline administration. Standardizing on Windows 10 will reduce a lot of work and cost that are quickly spiraling out of control with IT shops that must support 3-4 different platforms and as many operating systems.

Microsoft will be giving away Windows 10 to all the current Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 users who aren’t using Enterprise (more on that later). This means anyone who is using these OSs, at the time of release, can upgrade to Windows 10 for free for up to one year.

After the one year, they may have to pay to get Windows 10. Once you’ve upgraded to Windows 10, all upgrades will be free for the life of the device! In addition, Windows 10 is designed to run on the same hardware that supports Windows 7/8. This is unprecedented in Microsoft’s history and will be a huge incentive for customers to move quickly to Windows 10.

Enterprise customers won’t be left out in the cold either. They will get access to Windows 10 through Software Assurance for Volume Licensing. This only applies for devices currently using Windows 7/8 Enterprise, they must be upgraded to Windows 10 Enterprise.

Expect Windows 10 to be released by fall 2015.

Feel free to add comments below or follow me on Twitter at @shannys. Learn more about Windows 10 and the Internet of Things.

6 thoughts on “Windows 10 – One for All?

  • It is incomprehensible that an operating system designed to work with a multitude of devices, most of which are wireless capable devices, removes the one utility that aids in managing wireless networks. Yes, I am speaking of the Manage Wireless networks window that vanished between Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. It is unspeakable that Microsoft would expect netsh to be the only way to manage wireless networks. The ability to easily create network and remove them was a great feature in Windows 7. Now I know netsh is more powerful, and there are third party app….yada yada yada, removing features is always a bad idea, especially when the feature being removed is so useful.

  • This is the most concise article on Windows 10 that I have seen. Thank you very much for clearly portraying the points that so many other authors don’t seem capable of explaining properly!

  • I have Windows 10 in a VM right now for testing and so far it has been a pleasant surprise. Support for Virtual Desktops, and bringing back the start menu are items right from my wish list. I think that Microsoft has finally gotten their act together and listened to customer feedback to bring us the OS we need for the future.

  • Bill Heffernan says:

    A free upgrade will certainly get me to move from 8.1. I just hope all of my old Office applications will continue to work.
    You need to do more education on Cloud computing and the ease of moving from device to device.

  • Almost 3 years later and we still haven’t seen that. I mean, we’ve seen some tablets running a full Windows 10 OS. But, still no phones.

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