TECH

Windows 10: Features, Release Date, What's New

30/09/2014 18:40 BST | Updated 01/10/2014 15:59 BST

Windows 10 is the next version of Microsoft's once-ubiquitous operating system.

And yes they're jumping straight from 8 to 10. Why? Shut up, that's why.

Windows 10 will be a universal operating system for everything from phones to laptops, tablets, big touchscreen PCs and everything in between. Microsoft said at its launch event in front of a few dozen reporters that it would be "the most comprehensive platform ever" but that the software was still in beta. It will be refined and released to developers ahead of a full public release in 2015.

It will likely be a crucial release. Windows 8 was widely criticised for attempting to hoist a tablet-style interface on all computers, often to confusing effect for existing users. Meanwhile other platforms including Apple's iOS and Android have risen to prominence on mobile devices that are increasingly - in the case of the iPad - coming to replace laptops in the minds of consumers.

"We want all these Windows 7 users to have the sentiment that yesterday they were driving a first-generation Prius, and now with Windows 10 it's like a Tesla," said Microsoft's Joe Belfiore at the event.

Here are the new features:

  • A new start menu featuring elements of the tile-based homescreen from Windows 8. Users will be able to choose how big they want the live tiles to be, and how much they dominate the desktop environment
  • Improved search and file management
  • A new focus on improving muiltitasking and making sure users know which apps are open, how they're affecting battery and performance and how to close them
  • There will be one Windows Store for mobile, desktop, tablets and Xbox One
  • Modern apps will not run in a separate fullscreen mode divorced from the rest of the OS - they will be usable for users with keyboards and mice as well as touchscreens

Microsoft said the OS was still evolving and that elements of the system are barely changed yet - but will change significantly before release.

We'll have more details and news as it comes in.