Microsoft’s Build 2015 conference, aimed at developers, has begun with the company on Wednesday showcasing a number of new additions to its upcoming Windows 10 operating system.
Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for most users (those on Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 8) and will released in the second half of this year. During the keynote address, Microsoft also announced that it was making latest build of the Windows 10 preview available for those who are part of the Windows 10 Insider Program. Build 10074 as it is called is now available for download and you can check it out here.
So what’s new in Windows 10’s latest build? We take a quick look at some of the biggest features that Microsoft is introducing to its latest OS.
Changes to User Experience: Microsoft says they’ve made a number of improvements to the UX including a new Live Tile Animation for the start menu. Also Windows 10 will support high DPI displays.
Microsoft is also trying to bring back the Aero Glass from Windows 7, since a lot of users have requested its return. (Aero Glass is those translucent Windows you saw on Windows 7 and what Apple has also used in OS X).
Microsoft says they are testing out this feature with half the members of the Insider program and if the positive feedback continues, they might bring it back.
Continuum:: Windows 10 has its own answer to Apple’s Continuity feature and it’s called Continuum. The idea is simple, you can pick your work from a Windows Phone or tab to a Windows desktop right where you left off. Your Windows Phone will adjust to the Windows desktop screen, when the two are connected.
Microsoft has simplified the taskbar for Continuum and also now when you close an app in tablet mode, Windows 10 takes you back to the Start screen, similar to what will happen on the tablet.
Cortana: Cortana is now more deeply integrated with the Start menu. Cortana will take over once you search in Start Menu and come back with the results. Cortana also has a split-view where features like Notebook, Reminders, Feedback have been placed. Cortana will also answer questions while a user is still typing. Apparently users can even ask Cortana for a joke.
Music and Video apps: Windows 10 will also come with some universal apps, equivalent to how Apple’s OS X comes loaded with iTunes, Movie-maker, the Photos app, etc.
In Microsoft’s case, the Music and Video Preview apps are getting an update in the latest build bringing UX improvements, including a full screen for the Music app. The Video Preview app will now be able to re-download videos any number of times for up to three devices. Microsoft says it plans to increase the number of devices that users can download on.
Xbox app: The Xbox App for Windows 10 also gets an update in this build and has new features like “Game DVR for PC games, screenshots, a Live Tile, user profiles, and real-name sharing.” Also users will no longer need to separately download drivers for the Xbox controller as they will be pre-installed on this build.
Windows Store: Xbox Live games and in-app purchases will work on Windows 10. Apps bought on Windows 8.1 will show in the Store Beta on Windows 10 as owned. Microsoft has also expanded the list of countries where the store is supported.
Apps and Developers : With Windows 10, Microsoft wants to gain one billion new users. In order to do that, the company is making it easier for Android and iOS apps to run on Windows 10. Microsoft released four new Software Developer Kits (SDKs) which will support apps written in Web, .Net and Win32, Android C++/Java and Apple iOS Objective C, and allow developers to bring their apps to all Windows 10 platforms.
In short, developers will simply be able to re-package the existing app for say Android or iOS to the Windows 10 platform.