Microsoft announced yesterday that Windows 10 would launch in 190 countries by the end of July. The upgrade will be free for PC and tablet users running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, while the $119 Home version and $199 Pro version will be available for all others. (The company has yet to announce when Windows 10 will be available for phones.) New features include the personal assistant Cortana, the new Microsoft Edge browser, integration with Microsoft’s Xbox platform, and the return of the iconic Start Menu.
“Microsoft has pushed an update to existing versions of Windows that adds a notification to the user’s taskbar, allowing them to ‘reserve’ their copy of Windows,” notes Digital Trends. “Notifying users of the new version of Windows has obvious benefits, but this reservation system also allows Microsoft to roughly gauge how many are interested, making for a smoother rollout on launch day.”
“While the free upgrade is certainly generous, some users have complained that the notification is ‘intrusive,’ while others say its unexpected appearance made them think they’d been infected with malware,” adds The Verge. “Still, Apple delivers notifications about its own free upgrades to OS X in the same way, and pop-ups seem a fair trade for not paying to upgrade your operating system.”
According to the Windows 10 features page, users can expect the following:
- The Windows Start Menu is back in an expanded form (see picture above).
- Cortana is your personal digital assistant that learns over time to become more effective.
- Gamers can stream content from the Xbox One to any Windows 10 device in the home.
- Microsoft Edge is a new browser that allows you to “write or type notes directly on webpages and share them with others, read online articles free of distraction, and save your favorite reads for later access.”
- Improved multitasking capabilities: “Easily snap up to four apps in place and see all open tasks in a single view. You can even create virtual desktops when you need more space or want to group things by project.”
- A new Windows Store offers access to digital content including apps, games, movies, music and TV shows.