Microsoft hosted an event in Redmond on January 21st where they provided the world with a look at Windows 10, Office 2016 and a few surprises. (HoloLens anyone!) Here are the announcements made regarding Windows 10.
Windows 10 is currently on schedule to be released later this year and is currently being tested by 1.7 million users around the globe! These testers have provided Microsoft with 800,000 pieces of feedback on 200,000 different topics. With this many people contributing to the operating system it certainly has the potential to be one of the best Microsoft releases ever.
Perhaps the biggest news is that users of Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1 will be eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 10! Users will be able to take advantage of this for the first year following the launch of Windows 10. According to Microsoft, "Some editions of the software will be excluded from the free upgrade offer, those are: Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise, and Windows RT/RT 8.1. Active Software Assurance customers in volume licensing have the benefit to upgrade to Windows 10 enterprise offerings outside of this offer."
Also worth noting is that Windows 10 will be delivered as a service. This represents a massive change that may have significant impact on users and IT departments. This means that future updates to Windows 10 will be delivered on a regular basis instead of adding functionality every few years via a major update. While similar to how updates are provided to Office 365, businesses will apparently have more control over when they receive particular updates. From the Windows blog:
"Business customers will be able to opt-in to the fast-moving consumer update pace, or lock-down mission critical environments to receive only security and critical updates to their systems. And businesses will have an additional option for systems that aren't mission critical, but need to keep pace with the latest innovations while having the benefit to install updates after they have been tested in the broad market. And the choice isn't one or the other for businesses; we expect that most corporations will require a mix of these options to accommodate their business scenarios."
We at Springhouse are very excited about Windows 10 and already have it running on a few systems around the office and are actively exploring all that the software has to offer.
Office 2016 and Office for Windows 10
Over the past year Microsoft has brought out completely re-imagined, touch-first versions of its software for iOS devices and, just last week, Android devices. However, Windows users have had to patiently wait for a touch-first version of Office for their Surface Pros and other Windows devices.Well the wait is almost over!
Along-side the launch of Windows 10 will be Office "universal" apps for Windows 10 devices, from mobile devices all the way up to the new
Microsoft Surface Hub!
These new apps have be designed from scratch to run on Windows 10. They are built for touch and provide users with the unmistakable Office experience they are familiar with. The apps will provide a consistent user experience across all devices, regardless of size.
Microsoft will be pre-installing the new Office apps for free on phones and small tablets running Windows 10, and they will be available for download from the Microsoft Store with general availability being later this year.
Microsoft is also hard at work on Office 2016, which is intended to be used on traditional PCs with a keyboard and a mouse. They have stated that Office 2016 should be available in the second half of 2015. Rest assured, as we near the release dates we will be discussing Windows 10 and the new Office suites in much more detail!