Crossing the Threshold: Windows 10 Unveiled

Dan Holme

by Dan Holme on 1/21/2015

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Microsoft, Microsoft Band, Satya Nadella, Windows 10, Windows Phone, Xbox

Today, January 21, Microsoft pulls back the covers to reveal significant new details of Windows 10. Stay tuned or catch up here, where I will keep you posted about how this uber-critical release impacts your organization and your personal life. 

And that's what it's really about, in my opinion. A single release that will cross the boundaries from what we do with technology in our personal, family and social world to the way we use technology to get our job done. 

Windows 10

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  • Read more about the collaboration between NASA's JPL and Microsoft to allow researchers to "meet on Mars". Incredible!
  • Official Blog Post:
  • Official Page & Video: Surface Hub:
  • Official Page & Video: HoloLens:
  • HoloLens continues to blow my mind. And what's fantastic? This is NOT a fashion device. It's a standalone, untethered computer with transparent, HD holographic lenses. It won't be worn by uber-hipsters wanting to look trendy. It's going to be used to change lives. In the four hours since the announcement of HoloLens I've had FOUR developers contact me about AMAZING ideas they have for HoloLens. This is transformational.
  • Satya Nadella reiterated the key points of Microsoft's strategy. First, building great services. Second, supporting mobility--not just of devices, but the mobility of experience across device form factors. Third, extending Microsoft's services across platforms (read: iOS and Android). Giving developers the ability to reach billions of customers. Empowering human beings to make more of their lives through technology. Satya does a great job of communicating the passion. And he positioned the importance of Windows as a unifying force within Microsoft itself. Windows may not be the "cash cow" it used to be, but it is clearly core to the company and, Microsoft hopes, to the future of our personal and professional relationship with technology.
  • The demo of Windows Holographic was amazing. Flawless. Mind-blowing. And to think all of this years-long development was kept a secret. This is NOT science fiction. NASA has been a partner and expects to be controlling rovers on Mars with Windows Holographic... by JULY!!! WTF!?!
  • Microsoft HoloLens. Wow. The world's first fully untethered holographic computer. Glasses with see-through HD holographic lenses. Special processors allow spatial mapping, voice awareness, etc. Completely stand-alone. OK, NOW is it OK that Microsoft is creating devices :-) ?
  • Microsoft puts its stake in the ground with Windows Holographic. The demo and "sizzle video" was mind-blowing. And it's all available to developers through Windows 10's environmental awareness APIs and through universal apps.
  • Surface Hub revealed. 84" 4K display with integrated computing, multitouch, pen support. The white board is powered by OneNote. This is HUGE. It's not "yet another app", demonstrating that Microsoft really is becoming "one" and delivering SOLUTIONS-centric services. Also, because it's OneNote, familiar sharing, no need to take pictures of white board, etc. Integration of PowerPoint and ink was demostrated, and everything is shared with remote meeting attendees via Skype with Business integration. FANTASTIC. NOW are there any questions about why devices AND services is a powerful combination?
  • Windows 10 builds will be released to Insiders over the coming week. The phone build will be released in February.
  • I'm not a gamer, so I can't comment too much about the Xbox announcements: Game DVR (Windows+G) and last 30-seconds always recorded so you can capture unexpected surprises. DirectX 12 uses 50% less power, and looks great. Most importantly, game streaming from Xbox One to any PC or tablet in your home. Fantastic!
  • On every Windows PC and tablet you'll have the Xbox app. Implication: Not on phone. I expect that will be a pricing/packaging issue, not a technical issue. Remember Microsoft is giving away Windows on small-screen devices. Perhaps making a small-screen gaming device would require the manufacturer to pay a fee.
  • ADD YOUR COMMENTS!!!! What are YOU seeing in the live launch? If possible, please log in or create a user account so we know who you are, but you can also add comments anonymously. Note that we're working on the FORMATTING of comments, but right now, it's just text.
  • Spartan - the new web browser that will ship with Windows 10, and will be included in future Windows Insider builds - allows you to clip and markup and comment on a web page. You can save or share the clip. This is the love child of web browsing, sharing/collaborating, and OneNote's powerful capabilities. Reading view, reading list, CACHING (i.e. Pocket) built in.
  • Music app looks like they might finally make Xbox music something other than a train wreck. Perhaps most importantly, Joe Belifore mentioned that you'd be able to put your entire music collection in OneDrive. That suggests that OneDrive will have no more limits to the number of files or file names in order to support that kind of scale (lots and lots of small files).
  • New Photos app looks GLORIOUS. Does what we need it to: aggregate photos across services and devices (a feature that got "lost" in Windows 8.1), caches photos from OneDrive, creates albums automatically, built-in touchup/editing, and deals with DUPLICATES. Awesome!
  • New Outlook mail and calendar apps look like they bring the best of all worlds--Windows Mail, Outlook, iOS Mail and, I imagine soon, Accompli. Looks great across devices.
  • Universal applications. If there's any doubt how powerful they are, Microsoft has written the new version of Office as a Universal App. NO EXCUSES now, for developers. Create an app, deploy it across all screen sizes, and reach 1.5B customers. That should really help "fix" the poor Microsoft app stores experiences.
  • Rich messaging, calling, and video integration. Skype & text messages will be integrated, like Facebook & text was in Windows Phone 8. iMessage now has competition.
  • Windows 10 on the phone. Consistent experience. Action Center sync'ed with PC (hopefully means when you dismiss a notification on one device, it goes away from others!). Moving keyboard to one side to make it accessible from one hand [smart]. Cortana did a hashtag as one word, from voice. Nice!
  • Not a surprise but thrilled to see CORTANA on the PC. Cortana responds to "Hey, Cortana!" She has a home, next to the Start button. SMART MOVE: Build in "trust", so you can see what Cortana knows about you. You can go into the Notebook to see what Cortana is keeping track of. Like Windows Phone, Cortana has "interests", the ability to track flights, stocks, sports teams, etc, all available from Cortana's "home page." Voice-integrated desktop search ("find powerpoint presentations about sales" or "show me photos from December"). Cortana will also do well with keyboard & mouse users, not just voice. A nice demo--very relevant to me--you're in the kitchen and say, "Hey, Cortana! Play my music" and then "Hey, Cortana! Be quiet!" while cooking. Hands free while cooking! Another nice example: In the middle of working on a big spreadsheet, ask Cortana to "Send an email to ___" and then the subject and the message. All by voice.
  • Joe Belifore showed off the core Windows UX: Start Menu looks great, incorporating the best of Windows old and Windows new. The Action Center, on the right, allows interaction with notifications. Control Panel and Settings come together in one place. Continuum provides what appears to be very smooth transition between tablet mode (defaults to full screen apps) and PC mode. Touch allows new and smart gestures (drag down to close).
  • Windows 10 will be a free upgrade from Windows 7, 8, and Windows Phone 8.1, and will stay current for the lifetime of the device. "Keep current" makes Windows a service, says Terry Myerson. Which is fair if you consider Adobe Creative Cloud a service. This is very very smart for Microsoft--it will drive adoption in ways Microsoft couldn't drive with older business models.
  • Terry Myerson takes the stage and sets up the themes: Windows 10 will create a transition from Windows 7, will support a slew of new device types (teasing a later part of the launch), will be secure and manageable in the enterprise, and is benefitting in real time from the feedback provided by the Windows Insider program.