Microsoft today announced that its new operating system will be called Windows 10, rather than Windows 9. It's a new generation of the Windows operating system that is being hailed by Microsoft as being adaptable to all sorts of devices, from tiny Internet of Things gadgets, to phones, laptops, right up to data centres.
Key to this one-size-fits-all approach is a converged application platform and a unified app store for the operating system. Developers will be able to write applications once and then deploy them across all of the device types that they choose. Microsoft is keen to point out that this doesn't mean one interface that's the same across all devices, but rather, a product family with an underlying technology that can be specifically tailored to run on each type of device.
Microsoft is really hyping the new operating system for business users as it looks to claw back ground lost due to the poor acceptance of Windows 8 and its radical Start Screen. It hopes that it can do this by going back to a more familiar interface that has no division between touch and keyboard, and by implementing better security right into the product. Microsoft says it has done work to improve the security of identities, to make them more resistant to things such as phishing attempts. Meanwhile, data protection has been enabled at the file level, and will follow the data as it travels from every device or storage location.
Windows 10 features
The Start Menu is indeed back: the new menu has a familiar look and feel, but adds an expanded view that can give personalised, one-click access to regularly used files, apps and even Web sites. Basically, it's an amalgamation of the regular Start Menu and the Windows 8 Start Screen.
Windows Store apps open on the Desktop: rather than opening up in a full-screen view, apps downloaded from the Windows Store will now open up in the same view as your desktop programs, and they can be re-sized and moved around the screen. They even include title bars, and the ability to be resized and maximised.Read more: Top Twitter reactions to Windows 10
Task view: this is a button on the Taskbar that allows you to switch between everything that's open on your computer. It's a single view that allows you to see all open apps and files, as well as desktops (see Multiple desktops).Read more: How to install Windows 10 on a PC using a USB stick
Windows snapping: the ability to snap windows to the left and right screen is great, but Microsoft has improved on this by now allowing apps to be snapped in all four quarters of the screen. You can snap one app to the right of the screen, and then snap two other apps at the top and bottom of the left screen.Read more: BlackBerry Passport review: A smartphone going nowhere
Multiple desktops: this is for busy users who like to segregate their work. Different desktops can be used to house different workflows, and they can be switched to at any time.
So how can you get Windows 10? Keep your eye on Microsoft's Windows 10 technical preview page and Insider Program. At the time of writing, this page wasn't yet updated with the download details.