Microsoft Demos Free Windows 10 Update, Debuts New 'Project Spartan' Web Browser

In the fall of 2014, Microsoft announced its newest operating system, Windows 10, and gave a brief preview of the upcoming software, which is designed to incorporate elements of both Windows 8 and Windows 7, in an attempt to make it more appealing to users who have thus far not upgraded to Windows 8.

Today, Microsoft is holding an official unveiling of Windows 10, sharing new details on the OS and demonstrating how it works across a range of devices. With Windows 10, Microsoft is hoping to cut down on operating system fragmentation with one unified platform thats designed to run on PCs, tablets, phones, and more.

Microsoft's tagline for Windows 10 is "More personal computing," a philosophy that's evidenced in its three design guidelines that it used when developing the software: mobility of experience, trust, and natural interaction, through a range of different input options from mice and keyboards to pens and simple touch.

crossplatform
Windows 10 somewhat mirrors Apple's efforts to unify iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite by creating a deep level of integration with features like Continuity, because Microsoft promises a unified experience and platform integration that will make it easy to put one device down and continue where you left off on another device.

In an effort to get its users to adopt Windows 10, Microsoft is planning to distribute Windows 10 to Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 users at no cost for the first year, which is an unprecedented move for the Washington-based company. Unlike Apple, Microsoft has never offered Windows for free, but Apple's success getting the majority of its users on the same operating system has likely inspired Microsoft to make the same effort.

Once a device is upgraded to Windows 10, Microsoft plans to keep the operating system current for the lifetime of the device. With a unified operating system, developers can target every single Windows device, and Microsoft is planning for long term support.

"Windows 10 is so much more than the latest version of Windows," said Microsoft VP of Operating Systems Terry Myerson. "Windows is turning into a service that will run across every device."

At today's event, Microsoft demoed Windows 10 running on several different devices, beginning with a tablet equipped with a keyboard and a mouse, running the full Windows 10 operating system. Windows 10 melds elements of Windows 7 with Windows 8.1, maintaining the tile system but also returning the iconic Start Menu.

windowssmartphone
There's an action center that delivers notifications and supports quick actions like turning off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and there's also a merged PC Settings and control panel option, which will be universal across all devices. With Continuum, a new feature that's designed to make transitioning from PC mode to tablet mode seamless, the mouse and keyboard were removed and Windows 10 offered a popup that transformed it into tablet mode. "A device like this elegantly transforms from one mode to another."

Microsoft also demoed its virtual assistant Cortana on a Windows PC, demonstrating her ability to search for information, set reminders, and more. Previously, Cortana was limited to Windows Phone, but the assistant will be available across all devices with the introduction of Windows 10. Cortana in Windows 10 is quite powerful, able to answer queries like "Bring up all my photos from December," or "Play my music," and she'll be integrated into the Maps app.

Windows 10 was also shown off on a small form-factor tablet and on a phone, with an emphasis being placed on the unification between the devices, with the same methods being used to access settings, apps, and more. For messaging, for example, Microsoft has plans for Skype integration, making it easy to transition from messaging to making a Skype call. Microsoft apps like Office and Outlook will be available on PCs, phones, and tablets, and it will be easy to transition between apps on various devices.

crossplatformapps
Microsoft is introducing a slew of universal apps, and in addition to those mentioned above, Microsoft has a new Photos app that's formatted to fit any screen on a tablet, phone, or PC. It aggregates photos from all devices, providing one simple view of photos and filters clutter like double shots, which sounds similar to what Apple is aiming to do with its own Photos app.

Along with Windows 10, Microsoft debuted a new browser for the modern web, which is currently codenamed Project Spartan. It's a new web browsing experience for Windows 10, which has a new rendering engine, a new look and feel, and features like a note-taking mode that lets users draw directly on their browsers before sharing a link, a reading mode with reading list and offline browsing, and access to Cortana in the browser.

projectspartanbrowser
Finally, Microsoft debuted a unified Xbox app that can be accessed on PCs, tablets, and smartphones, connecting those devices to Microsoft's Xbox gaming platform. It can be used for sharing gaming clips, and with Windows 10, Microsoft plans to enable streaming of any Xbox game to Windows PCs and tablets running Windows 10 in the home.

Microsoft has already provided access to Windows 10 to some users through its Windows Insider Program, a project that it plans to continue to use to seed out new Windows 10 features. Project Spartan and the features shown off today will come to Windows Insider testers in the coming months.

Top Rated Comments

mKTank Avatar
88 months ago
Free for one year? Is MS really stupid enough to sell an OS that works on a subscription model? Who would buy a computer that has a monthly fee to use?

After the epic failure that was 8, I really thought it was impossible for an MS to do anything even dumber....

Nobody said anything about a subscription model.

Or do you just like forcing words into people's mouths to prove a weak point?
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Renzatic Avatar
88 months ago
So they're rolling out a new browser - odd

It's a reputation patch, much like 7 was for Vista. Even if IE is pretty decent these days, the name has garnered such a bad reputation over the years, they might as well scrap it entirely and start from scratch.
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Renzatic Avatar
88 months ago
Free for one year? Is MS really stupid enough to sell an OS that works on a subscription model? Who would buy a computer that has a monthly fee to use?

After the epic failure that was 8, I really thought it was impossible for an MS to do anything even dumber....

It's not going subscription. If it were, you could bet people would be freaking out and burning down MS HQ. Hell, I'd be one of them.

This is just a free upgrade window for Windows 7 and 8 people. If you don't grab it in that amount of time, you have to pay for it, like you've had to with every other previous version of Windows. Basically, it's MS' way to get everyone on one common platform as quickly as possible.
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Razeus Avatar
88 months ago
Free for one year? Is MS really stupid enough to sell an OS that works on a subscription model? Who would buy a computer that has a monthly fee to use?

After the epic failure that was 8, I really thought it was impossible for an MS to do anything even dumber....

Comprehension isn't your strong suit.

They mean that's it's free to purchase for the first year it's released. After that, you'll have to pay for Windows like you always have.

It's a move to get everyone on board Windows 10, to make up for the bad rep Windows 8 had given it.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kissaragi Avatar
88 months ago
Free for one year? Is MS really stupid enough to sell an OS that works on a subscription model? Who would buy a computer that has a monthly fee to use?

After the epic failure that was 8, I really thought it was impossible for an MS to do anything even dumber....

They might mean it will be free to get for a year but it will carry on working after that.
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macsrcool1234 Avatar
88 months ago
Free for one year? Is MS really stupid enough to sell an OS that works on a subscription model? Who would buy a computer that has a monthly fee to use?

After the epic failure that was 8, I really thought it was impossible for an MS to do anything even dumber....
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
YouTube Picture in Picture Feature

YouTube Premium Subscribers Can Now Use iOS Picture-in-Picture: Here's How

Wednesday August 25, 2021 3:55 am PDT by
Google has rolled out picture-in-picture support as an "experimental" feature for YouTube premium subscribers, allowing them to watch video in a small window when the app is closed. If you're a premium YouTube subscriber looking to try out picture-in-picture, follow these steps: Launch a web browser and sign into your YouTube account at YouTube.com. Navigate to www.youtube.com/new. Scroll...
gradiente iphone white

Brazilian Electronics Company Revives Long-Running iPhone Trademark Dispute

Tuesday May 19, 2020 1:06 pm PDT by
Apple has been involved in a long-running iPhone trademark dispute in Brazil, which was revived today by IGB Electronica, a Brazilian consumer electronics company that originally registered the "iPhone" name in 2000. IGB Electronica fought a multi-year battle with Apple in an attempt to get exclusive rights to the "iPhone" trademark, but ultimately lost, and now the case has been brought to...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
ryanscoolios13thumbnail

Apple Releases iOS 13.1.3 With Bug Fixes for Phone, Mail, Health, and More

Tuesday October 15, 2019 10:09 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 13.1.3 and iPadOS 13.1.3, minor updates to the iOS 13.1.2 software that was released two weeks ago. This is the fourth update to the iOS 13 operating system that came out in September. The iOS and iPadOS 13.1.3 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to Settings > General > Software Update....
bluetti eb70 main

MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Bluetti EB70 Portable Power Station and 200W Solar Panel

Friday September 3, 2021 11:13 am PDT by
For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with MAXOAK to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win a Bluetti portable power station and an accompanying solar panel. Bluetti makes a range of portable power station options that are useful for camping, emergencies, power outages, off-grid living, and similar situations. The Bluetti EB70 is a solid middle of the road option that offers 716Wh and...
M1X MBP Feature

Leaker: Upcoming MacBook Pro to See Price Hike Over Current Model, Equal Performance Across 14 and 16-Inch Sizes

Tuesday August 24, 2021 5:28 am PDT by
The upcoming 14-inch MacBook Pro is set to be more expensive than the current 13-inch MacBook Pro and both the 14 and 16-inch models will offer the same performance, according to the leaker known as "Dylandkt." The leaker shared the information on Twitter, explaining that both of the upcoming MacBook Pro models, expected to come in 14 and 16-inch sizes, will feature the same performance due...
iphone 13 teal with text

Apple Expecting iPhone and iPad Supply Constraints in September Quarter

Tuesday July 27, 2021 2:34 pm PDT by
During today's earnings call covering the third fiscal quarter of 2021 (second calendar quarter), Apple CFO Luca Maesteri said that Apple is expecting supply constraints to affect the iPhone and the iPad in the coming quarter. "The supply constraints that we've seen in the June quarter will be higher in the September quarter," said Maestri. The constraints will impact iPhone and iPad sales...
os x mountain lion macs 16x9 2

Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:19 pm PDT by
Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld. Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates. As of last week, these updates no...
maxresdefault

Craig Federighi and Greg Joswiak Discuss iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, Privacy, Shortcuts on Mac, and More

Saturday June 12, 2021 6:12 am PDT by
As is tradition, Apple executives Craig Federighi and Greg Joswiak joined Daring Fireball's John Gruber in an episode of The Talk Show to discuss several announcements that Apple made over this weeks WWDC, including iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and a large focus around privacy. Federighi kicks off the conversation discussing the common architecture, now thanks to Apple silicon, across all of...