SAN FRANCISCO – Following today’s unveiling of Windows 10, GeekWire got a chance to go hands-on with Microsoft’s new operating system, and get a demonstration of what’s coming next. It’s worth noting that this is pre-release software and isn’t necessarily indicative of what consumers will see in the final product, but people who sign up to get a preview of Windows 10 will get access to a build much like this one.
Here’s Jeremiah Marble, a Senior Product Manger from the Windows team, showing off what’s new in Microsoft’s latest build of Windows 10.
In my short time with the OS, I found that the new features all seemed like a welcome addition to Windows. The first thing people who get their hands on Windows 10 will notice is the reappearance of the Start menu, and it’s coming back in rare form. The addition of live tiles alongside recent apps and documents actually makes sense, and feels right.
Users can also resize the Start menu to fit their preferences, whether that’s short and wide, or long and tall. The menu will actually re-size to fit whatever people happen to put in there.
Task View reminds me of Mac OS X’s Mission Control feature, which lets users manage multiple desktops and view different windows all at a glance. The version I saw today was short on flashy UI chrome and animations, but did a good job of providing an at-a-glance view of what windows are open on a given desktop.
Alt-Tab’s ability to get users quickly from one desktop to another will be a welcome tool for power users who want to split different tasks between different environments. The one quibble I had with it is that there was no way to determine which desktop I switched to when switching between windows on different desktops.
Snapping apps works well, especially if users are just trying to snap two apps side by side. The feature will even stay open as users re-size a window, so that it’s possible to snap something to more or less than half a screen, and then have Windows fill in the remaining space with another window.
What didn’t quite make as much sense to me off the bat was how a user would go about tiling multiple windows using the feature. Microsoft demonstrated having 4 windows all up at once in a single screen, though actually getting to that point was a harder process.
Overall, it’ll be interesting to see how Windows 10 shapes up over the next year or so. Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Operating Systems, said on stage today that this is going to be the company’s most collaborative OS release ever, and that user feedback will play an important role in how the final product turns out.