If you bet that the next version of Microsoft’s operating system to follow Windows 8 was going to be Windows 9, you lost money. Instead, Windows 10 is coming next year, and Microsoft showed off some of the new functions early to gain enterprise support at a press event on Tuesday.
Many of the recent leaks showing the new Windows software seem to be spot on. The Start menu is now a pairing of traditional app shortcuts with the tile-based interface that arrived with Windows 8 and Windows Phone.
Those tiles can be resized or moved around, just as they can on a phone or tablet running Windows, and they’re “live,” meaning they can dynamically show additional information. Think of your next calendar appointment or the weather. It’s as if [company]Microsoft[/company] grafted a Windows Phone screen on the Start menu.
Unlike in Windows 8, there doesn’t appear to be a full touch-friendly Start screen filled with Live Tiles. Instead, the focus is on the desktop; at least, that was what Microsoft showed off at the event. Those Metro-style apps simply run on the Desktop along with legacy apps; they’re fully integrated into the Universal Search of Windows as well.
Some of the touch aspects of the current Windows software are still here, though: The Charms menu, for example, and a slide from the left side of the screen to see currently running apps.
[pullquote]It’s as if Microsoft grafted a Windows Phone screen on the Start menu.[/pullquote]So if Windows 10 is Desktop-centric with a sprinkling of Windows 7 and 8 touch features, what happens to touch-based tablets?
There is a design that Microsoft calls Continuum that shows the tile-based environment found on today’s Windows tablets. It’s essentially a tweaked Metro-style mode that appears when you touch the display; it won’t appear if you use a mouse and keyboard.
Here’s a short video from Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore, showing off the new look:
Microsoft says it will start offering a developer preview of the new Windows 10 on Wednesday for members of its Windows Insider Program. Surely much of Windows 10 will change between now and the final release, but it appears that Microsoft is trying to soften the stigma of an operating system with two distinct personalities between the Desktop and touch modes.