Barring last minute showstopper bugs, there seems to be no stopping Microsoft from revealing to the world once and for all the new Microsoft. As well as the new Windows 10, of course. The technical previews for the next major version of Windows has already been out for a month or so now, but what we’re really waiting for is the actual and, for a year, free launch of Windows 10. At the Windows Hardware Engineering Community (WinHEC) summit in Shenzhen, China, Redmond revealed that Windows 10 will arrive in Summer 2015, in 190 countries and supporting 111 languages
Though those number may sound impressive taken in isolation, they are actually common fare for Windows, considering how much the operating system needs to support in terms of installation numbers and regions. That, however, might also be an indication of how much Windows is still part and parcel of computing life, despite how much it has been derided and ridiculed. It also shows how important it is for Microsoft to make Windows 10 work, with its future hedging on its new, unified, cross-device direction.
But what exactly will Windows 10 be offering users? Apparently, a lot of most requested fixes to sore points, most notably the Windows Start Screen and the “Modern” (or Metro) apps. Continuum is now the name of the game, trying to reconcile two worlds that have grown painfully apart in Windows 8. But more than what we’ve already seen in the tech preview, a few new interesting features have also been revealed, or leaked, just this week alone.
For one, there is that leak that Windows updates can be optionally be delivered via peer-to-peer technology or P2P. This could ease the burden on networks and Microsoft’s own servers in cases where there are multiple Windows machines on the same network. Microsoft also boasted of how it has been able to slim down Windows 10 space usage considerably, reclaiming as much as 6.6 GB on a 64-bit system. And lastly, it announced Windows Hello, its biometrics-based authentication system that can use fingerprints, faces, and irises to securely identify users and unlock devices and services.
Of course, it’s not all perfect in Windows land. The update may be available for free for a year for Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1 users, but not all are guaranteed to get it. Low storage devices that use Microsoft’s own WIMBOOT system pose a challenge, and only a select number of new Windows 10 devices will be able to support Windows Hello. And that’s not yet mentioning the uncertainty of which Windows Phone devices are eligible for the upgrade either. All in all, it’s going to be a rather interesting Summer for Microsoft and, for its sake, it will hopefully be a smoother ride this time.