Developers, Developers: Windows 10 as a unified platform, runs Android/iOS apps, Continuum & more

By Julio Franco ยท 16 replies
Apr 29, 2015
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  1. Microsoft's Build 2015 opening keynote set a clear tone for the 3-day conference by establishing that it's all about developers (heard that one before?). In a way, you could say this is Microsoft going back to its roots, though with Satya Nadella at the helm it's a different Microsoft, taking the cloud as seriously as ever, software as a service being at the center of the company's Office offerings, and of course, Windows 10.

    Nadella introduced Windows 10 as being a new generation of Windows, Windows as a service and as a unified platform that scales across several types of devices and form factors.

    Windows Store and Unified Apps

    Touting a refreshed experience for the Windows Store, Microsoft unveiled that the Windows 10 Store will welcome (1) web apps and websites that can be treated as native apps, (2) .NET / Win32 code like Adobe Photoshop and other productivity programs, (3) reusing code from Android apps based on Java or C++, and (4) the big unexpected surprise, iOS apps developed in Objective-C which can be ported into Windows by converting Xcode to Visual Studio files.

    From the demo it became obvious Microsoft has spent more time porting iOS and making sure that works smoothly. Though apps will still need to be reworked, the company claims development time will be shortened considerably and porting itself takes few code modifications.

    It's a novel approach to boost the Windows Store and making Windows 10 a truly universal platform. The company is counting on driving massive adoption by making Windows 10 free for the first year, and forecasts 1 billion devices of all kind of form factors will be running the OS within 3 years.


    Running the same binary on phone, desktop PC, and even Xbox. Microsoft showed a USA Today app running on those three platforms natively, as well as WeChat running on the same codebase on a phone and the desktop, showing how you can attach files using drag and drop and that would work seamlessly.

    Continuum: running the same binary on phone, desktop PC, and even Xbox.

    The Continuum showcase was really cool (though not as cool as the futuristic Hololens, which we cover here). Using a ThinkPad tablet running full Windows 10, we were shown apps using the new tablet UI language that is cleaner and more familiar than we've seen before essentially because it looks more like the desktop UI. Then upon docking the tablet, it turned into a full Windows desktop seamlessly with all apps now running windowed and the different applications' UI adapting accordingly. Windows 10 looked like just any PC while running off the tablet hardware but in a desktop monitor, mouse and keyboard.

    For the first time Microsoft also showed Continuum but going from a phone to the desktop. Joe Belfiore, the company's OS VP admitted this will need new hardware and this was more of a concept demo that they plan to expand on during the conference. But what we saw essentially was Powerpoint and Outlook running on a phone, then connecting that phone to a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and to an HDMI monitor, you get a desktop-like experience out of your phone's hardware. Albeit more limited in nature, but according to Belfiore, off the same codebase that is shared across the Office suite, from phone to desktop.

    Windows 10 on the Desktop

    A handful of the Start Menu tweaks that were supposed to be shown at the conference with the latest Windows 10 build were spoiled earlier this week on leaks, but nonetheless we had a chance to see them on the demo: Aero-like translucency on the Start Menu, 3d live tiles, and app recommendations based on your usage.

    This last part looked a bit like ads within the Windows experience, but hopefully the company will not only make it optional (it will be), but will also make it deeply functional and useful in order to push true app discovery.

    Joe Belfiore believes this Start Menu experience is really close to what we'll get on the final shipping version of Windows 10.

    Spotlight is a personalized lock screen experience in Windows 10 that not only looks fabulous -- think Bing's backgrounds with interactive elements in your lock screen -- but that also add some flamboyance to the whole Windows experience.

    The Cortana showcase was a brief demo of what we've seen before, it works well, it's not yet perfect, but certainly competes with the best Google and Apple have to offer in this regard. One neat thing Cortana performed was sending a text message in Viber without even opening the app, all performed using a natural language query.

    Finally, no more Project Spartan: Microsoft Edge is Windows 10's web browser that is set to replace Internet Explorer. You can read more about it here. But one thing that must be mentioned is that even with Edge, Microsoft is taking the same approach of opening up and stealing away where they can (from Firefox and Chrome), so they showed a Reddit Chrome extension that was modified just a little bit and ported to Edge.

    Also read:

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  2. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 1,936   +1,101

    I like Windows 10 so far, it looks promising.
    Simple little things like this and Solitare go a long way to sell a product, silly as it may seem to some.

    Microsoft is blending in instead of forcing their way and honestly, anything different would be disastrous at this point and they know it. From a networking and backbone/infrastructure standpoint they still have the best hand but on a user level (well them and Linux), its time for change and this is a good start.
    As first when I read this article and saw it was only free for the first year I was a little disappointed, but I am over that now.
    The question is, if someone upgrades for free and decides not to purchase Windows 10, what will still work and what will not? Can they just back down to W7/W8 or will a reformat/re-image be required? How will that all play out?
    AnonymousSurfer likes this.
  3. scorpian007

    scorpian007 TS Enthusiast Posts: 52   +18

    I don't believe you have to purchase Windows 10 if you upgrade in the first year. In the Insider build, there is an option to downgrade back to your original OS, I'm guessing this is how it will work in the final build too for people who want to go back.
  4. fallenjt

    fallenjt TS Rookie

    Who pays for OS anymore? Please, Mac OS is free for life.
    Littleczr likes this.
  5. Xero07

    Xero07 TS Booster Posts: 100

    Well you have to buy a Mac, cant just download it to any Computer which means the cost could be factored into the price of the machine.
    SuperVeloce likes this.
  6. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,869   +2,037

    LOL uhuh Macs are well known for their excellent value.
    Adhmuz, SuperVeloce, Burty117 and 2 others like this.
  7. Hahahaha, free as long as Apple does not force you to upgrade the machine in which case is way more expensive than Windows. You know they force you to upgrade hardware just as they force to update your phone and tablet with new os version that makes the old hardware cry. I'm running Win8.1 in my desktop that came with Vista and it is faster than ever 7 years later.
    SuperVeloce likes this.
  8. Forg0t2

    Forg0t2 TS Booster Posts: 147   +25

    Nothing in the world of computers is "free for life". If something is said to be free there will be a catch somewhere. With Apple products the price of the OS is included in the system. So your Mac OS is actually not free at all. Buying a laptop with a pre-installed windows doesn't make the windows free as well. Apple uses this trick to make it look like a consumer is getting more bang for its buck but in the end it does not differ a lot in methodology from pre-installed windows laptops / chromebooks, etc..
    SuperVeloce likes this.
  9. I'm a develloper and use mostly Windows (Java/C#) at work and Apple at home (Objective C)

    And I must say that I look forward to meet Windows X
  10. Teko03

    Teko03 TS Evangelist Posts: 415   +186

    Once you upgrade to Windows 10 for free, you own it on that system, simple as that. NO expiration, NO trial period, NO subscription fee after the year is up.

    Remember when Microsoft offered Windows 8 to recent PC buyers for $15 and to all others for $40 as a special introductory price? Well this is exactly that, a special introductory price of $0.00. You only pay for Windows 10 if you choose NOT to upgrade your current Windows 7 or Windows 8 system during the first year of release. After that date comes, you'll simply have to buy a single license like you always have with Windows.

    So in short, upgrading to Windows 10 is literally FREE.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2015
  11. Teko03

    Teko03 TS Evangelist Posts: 415   +186

    This upgrade is indeed, free for life, on the system it is installed on of course. As you mentioned, the only way you'll "buy" another license is when you purchase a new computer. Point being, there is NO catch to the FREE upgrade to Windows 10
  12. Teko03

    Teko03 TS Evangelist Posts: 415   +186

    The upgrade doesn't expire. Once you upgrade to Windows 10 (for free), your Windows 7 and Windows 8 licenses have essentially become Windows 10 licenses.
  13. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    Do you really think it's free? Think again. Do you think that the Apple device you buy comes with a free OS? Obviously it's included in the price but while you use that device you get free upgrades if and when they become available, if you keep it too long then you'll be told your device is no longer supported so if you want continued support, run out and buy another one.
    It's a vicious cycle and Apple are the masters of these smoke & mirrors tricks. Dynamo & Copperfield can learn from them.
    That business model works a treat for Apple and M$ are only just copying them now.
    Remember Win 7&8 can run on very old PC's, far older than what the current OSX will support. Apple aren't the good guys that iSheep think they are.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2015
    scorpian007 and Adhmuz like this.
  14. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 955   +515

    You don't have to buy a Mac. Ever heard of a Hackintosh? :p
  15. TheLandYacht

    TheLandYacht TS Rookie

    Sure...after you pay out the a$$ for the computer itself.
  16. nuttyrat

    nuttyrat TS Rookie

    I doubt that it will be "free for life". Let me explain:

    Microsoft is well known for being very careful and specific with the language that they use when talking about anything. If you have ever written a Microsoft Certification exam then you know what I mean. Read carefully at what they are saying:

    Windows 10 will be free "for the first year"

    Announcing Windows "As a Service"

    Trademarking "Windows 365" earlier this year.

    There are many hints that show one of two things. Either A) there is indeed a free OS, but it lacks features that can only be accessed via subscription (which is most likely), or B) after the first year you need to pay a subscription fee of some sort to continue using it (which is unlikely given the competition).

    Don't forget that we don't "Own" software, we license it. In the past it feels like ownership because we have the physical storage medium .. now, everyone is racing towards Cloud and Service offerings which cost money, providing consistent revenue streams. It will be interesting to see what happens. If you see the word "Service" included in an offering, expect to pay a subscription fee.
  17. maxxxenem1

    maxxxenem1 TS Rookie

    Windows ten works with- Steam ,DCS World and their beta, Prepar3D , Comodo internet securities pro , Avast, works with a Hp 4500e printer, TP-Link AC 1900 pcie adapter and much much more

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