Microsoft confirmed today Windows 10 will be released this summer, hitting 190 countries in 111 different languages. Terry Myerson, Microsoft's VP of Operating Systems, made the announcement during the WinHEC summit (Windows Hardware Engineering Community summit) taking place in Shenzhen, China.
Although an actual release date hasn't been finalized, the commitment is that the operating system will become available globally sometime during the summer.
The company took the opportunity to highlight how universal Windows' userbase is, with over 1.5 billion users worldwide, and hundreds of millions of those operating in China. During the presentation Myerson showed off some of Windows 10's localized features for the Chinese market, among them Cortana running in Mandarin.
Another new feature called "Windows Hello" was demoed on stage for the first time. 'Hello' introduces biometric authentication to a Windows PC or to your personal data and applications, using your face, fingerprint or iris. On paper (and watching the video below) it looks like a neat and much needed improvement for Windows' security. Since Windows 8 introduced -- or should I say, forcefully encouraged -- users to log in to Windows using a Microsoft account password, it's become a real hassle to lock your computer and log back in, especially if you do it several times a day.
Windows 10 is set to be one of the biggest OS releases in the company's history and possibly the most crucial. Let's not forget Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for Windows 8, Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 7 users during the first year of the release. Windows 7 alone is found on nearly half of all Windows-based PCs, so it's an encouraging and bold step for Microsoft to make.
On the China side, Microsoft unveiled strategic partnerships with Lenovo, Tencent, Xiaomi and Qihu 360 to boost usage and upgrades to the latest operating system. On a more global and broader scale, Microsoft has forged close relationships with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Intel, Qualcomm, among others to push Windows into the smartphone and mobile markets, as well as for Internet of Things devices. On this last bit, a version of Windows for small IoT devices will be available free of charge when Windows 10 launches.