Microsoft Introduces Windows 10 Update, Mixed Reality Tools

Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system update will allow apps to work across devices, including those running rival operating systems from Apple and Alphabet. For example, in a feature called “Pick Up Where You Left Off,” a user can finish editing a document on an iPhone that she started on a Windows PC; both devices must have Cortana to work. The company also introduced Windows Mixed Reality motion controller, which enables gaming in virtual worlds and tracks movement via sensors in the device and the paired headset.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Acer will sell a bundled headset/motion controller for $399 this holiday season; HP is offering one for $329 expected to ship in the summer. Microsoft is offering mixed reality developers in North America the chance to pre-order either of these.

microsoft_windows_10_logo

Wired says that Microsoft’s Mixed Reality system covers “all its reality bases,” by powering “headsets of all shapes, sizes, and types.” The new Acer and HP headsets both have a flip-up visor and outward-facing cameras, meaning they won’t offer room-mapping but let users immediately start gaming.

Microsoft’s controller works with any Microsoft-supported headset and pairs with the cameras “so you can see your hands in VR without needing any external hardware.” The controller “looks like a mix between the Oculus Touch controllers and the large wands that come with the HTC Vive.”

WSJ adds that the new Windows update, available later this year, will more deeply integrate its Web-based file storage OneDrive, and include OneDrive Files on Demand, so users can access documents without having to download them, even if they aren’t connected to the Web. But Windows Developer corporate vice president Kevin Gallo was mum on whether these new Windows features would be available via other Web-based storage services.

Microsoft, which says that there are now 500 million devices running Windows 10, plans to update its operating system about every six months. The company says that, “more than 300 million people use the nearly two-year-old operating system every day,” for more than 3.5 hours on average.

The new Windows 10 S is a streamlined version aimed at the education market; it only allows users to run apps from Microsoft’s Windows Store. Windows and Devices Group executive vice president Terry Myerson says that, by the end of the year, “Apple’s iTunes will come to the Windows Store,” and Microsoft also said it will add Spotify and new apps from Autodesk and SAP for corporate customers.

Related:
Watch Windows 10 Running on ARM with Full Support for existing Win32 Apps, VentureBeat, 5/11/17