Windows 10 is almost in sight: Microsoft hasn’t offered an official release date, but I do know that the company has committed to launching the new operating system globally this summer.
The end of the road is in sight, but there’s still quite a bit left to iron out before the next generation of Windows is humming along on our PCs, tablets and phones. And Microsoft isn’t done rolling out new features, either. The latest build of the Technical Preview adds a bit of visual flair, and brought virtual assistant Cortana to even more countries, including the UK, China and France. And Reuters reports that Cortana could eventually be making her way to iOS and Android devices.
Microsoft is also working to beef up security in Windows 10. The recently announced Windows Hello will use biometric authentication to unlock your devices, scanning your face, finger or iris in lieu of a password. It’ll take some time for machines with compatible hardware to reach consumers, but more secure options for logging into our accounts could be a boon for everyone.
And upgrades to Windows 10 will be free for a year, for folks who are currently running Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8. There’s no word on pricing after that (or for folks still running Windows XP), but if Microsoft has its way, we will have all made the switch by then anyway
Windows 10 isn’t going to fix everything, but these changes to Windows 8’s most divisive elements have made a world of difference to the OS. And that’s crucial to Windows’ future, as Microsoft is still looking at the big picture: PCs are old news, Desktops and laptops still handle most of our work and play, but tablets and smartphones have long since stolen the limelight: future operating systems will need to work to bridge that gap. We’ve seen steps in this direction from Apple, with OS X Yosemite’s ability to hand off files and things like emails and calls from your phone or tablet. And some Android apps are making their way to Google’s Chrome OS, an interesting sign of where Google might be headed.
Microsoft’s vision of tomorrow’s ideal operating system is grander still. The goal is to offer a unified experience across devices of all shapes and sizes, and one that will morph to make sense. Windows 8 dreamed of dragging us into that future, but we kicked and screamed at the inefficiency of its one-size-fits-all approach. With Windows 10, Microsoft seems to be getting it right.
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