Windows 10 event: Cortana, Spartan, Surface Hub and Hololens

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Microsoft has finished its second Windows 10 event, this time going over the features, price and cross-compatibility on Windows 10, alongside some new hardware announcements.

Before going into any features, Microsoft announced Windows 10 will be free for Windows 8.1 users and will be free for the first year for Windows 7 users. Windows Phone will be folded into Windows 10, and so will Windows RT we suspect.

Onto features, Microsoft showed off fullscreen Start Menu, basically a new hub for the Metro UI. Users will be able to change the size of the Start Menu, allowing them to make it full screen or the same as Windows 7.

A number of applications have also been updated for Windows 10, including Photos, Office 365, Outlook, Calendar and Music. Microsoft has added a new People service for social networking, but it did not have a live-demo at the event.

Continuum allows users to switch from device to device seamlessly. Microsoft will still make specific features available to certain types of devices. When users remove the keyboard and mouse from a convertible, it will switch into “tablet mode”.

Messaging will include other platforms like Skype, allowing users to switch chat platform and stay on the messaging service. This might be great, if Microsoft can partner with WhatsApp and other messaging services.

Cortana will be available on Windows 10 and Microsoft has updated the virtual assistant to include more sayings, including things like hashtags and other “internet slang”. Cortana will also be integrated into Microsoft’s new browser: Spartan.

Project Spartan will run on a new rendering engine, hopefully pulling lots of features from WebKit for developers. Users will now be able to annotate on the browser and store these annotations on OneDrive.

Microsoft has also added reading mode to remove the clutter on articles, alongside a Pocket-like reading list. The software giant did not go into detail about the future of Internet Explorer.

This new software upgrade will also come to Xbox One, and users will now be able to stream games from the console to a Windows 10 PC, laptop or tablet. This breaks our hopes of Xbox One exclusives coming to PC through the Xbox app.

Microsoft announced a new ‘Surface Hub’ for enterprise, an 84-inch 4K all-in-one computer, capable of Skype video conferences and presentations. No price or launch date was disclosed.

Windows Holographic and the HoloLens headset were both introduced at the event, showing Microsoft’s new aims in virtual reality. Microsoft is committed to building virtual worlds, and believes this could be the platform of choice for VR and game developers in the future.

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