Back in October, we said Windows 10 was everything Windows 8 needed to be, but it turns out the software will be much better than we imagined.
Many of the ideas that made Windows 8 so good are making the transition over to Windows 10, but the free update (for the first year) is much more than that. There’s a unification going on—PC, tablet, phone—creating an experience that’s beautifully seamless across multiple devices. And there’s a lot more here worth diving into. Buckle up.
Microsoft’s latest Technical Preview doesn’t demonstrate everything coming to Windows 10 later this year, but it does give us a really good taste of what’s to come. One of the major features is Cortana, Microsoft’s famously charming—and smart—predictive assistant that was originally introduced for Windows Phone 8.1. Her arrival in the desktop space is hugely welcome, and the technology works exactly as you’d want it to.
Well, almost exactly. There’s more promise right now than practicality. Because this is just a Technical Preview, Cortana is pretty buggy in Windows 10. She is able to return weather forecasts and other basic information. But right not the kinks are still being worked out. Still, it’s fun to say, “Hey, Cortana” to a computer and search with your voice. That may not be the future of Windows 10 per se, but Cortana is definitely much more powerful than that, as we’ve learned with our time with her in mobile.
Continuum is another great feature, allowing users to quickly transition from desktop mode to tablet mode. Going into tablet mode will make all of your windows go into full-screen apps; the Start Screen will also go right into full-size as well. Oh, and that’s another great thing about the new Start Menu. Not only is it back, but it’s now filled with more information, and app tiles are right there for quick access.
There’s also a new notification center of sorts, which is pretty identical to the solution offered up in Apple’s camp. That’s not such a bad thing, though; swipe in from the right side of the screen and you’ll see notifications right there, along with quick access to settings like Airplane mode and more.
These are all features stacked on top of what we saw in the first Technical Preview from last year—and there’s more to come still. To see the new Windows 10 Technical Preview in action, check out the video above.
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