ORLANDO — It took some negotiations with the powers that be, but we’ve been allowed to release this very early demo of the Windows 10 technical preview, which Microsoft is showing here at the Gartner Symposium and IT Expo.
IT World Canada CIO Jim Love, who’s covering the conference, got the sneak peek after recording a demonstration with a product manager.
“Windows 10 represents the first step of a whole new generation of Windows, unlocking new experiences to give customers new ways to work, play and connect,” Microsoft executive vice-president Terry Myerson said last week when the OS preview was released. “This will be our most comprehensive operating system and the best release Microsoft has ever done for our business customers, and we look forward to working together with our broader Windows community to bring Windows 10 to life in the months ahead.”
Given that features may be dropped or added between now and the final release, expected in the middle of next year, one should be careful in evaluating what’s seen.
But Love says “Microsoft has got it right. The Windows 10 interface is more friendly, more intuitive and if the early reports are true – more easy to install than many of the past versions we’ve all endured.”
As reported by everyone on the Web, it maintains the Windows 8 Modern tile interface because the OS is intended for tablets and smart phones as well as PCs. For those who insist, the Start menu is still there. The desktop combines Windows 7’s list of apps on the left with tiles on the rest of the screen. But users can’t toggle between the old and Modern interfaces: there’s only one.
As Love notes, the advantage is consistency.
For enterprises Microsoft says Win10 has improved resistance to breaches by toughening user identities, and use containers and data separation at the application and file level to data can be protected when it moves from device to email, USB drive or the cloud. Management and deployment will also be simplified.
“Windows 10 does what every design model should be doing,” says Love. “It provides a product as well as as design and philosophically it gives us a new view of the external organization and the customer.
Again, while it still early some are skeptical Win10 will be a big winner for Microsoft. In a column for Fast Company, Michael Mace argues the company made a “catastrophic misreading of the market” with Win8 by aiming it primarily at tablets. They declined to do what Microsoft thought people would on a WinTablet — reading, socializing, keeping photos. Instead, he says, they do all that on smart phones.
Developers won’t write apps for Windows until it increases its market share on smart phones and tablets, Mace says. “As it did with Windows 8, Microsoft is still trying to convince people to buy what it has, rather than coming up with a fundamental breakthrough that will actually attract them to its products. Absent that attractive new product or feature, Microsoft will probably continue to be the company that controls the PC standard but can’t get traction elsewhere.”
We’ll see. There’s still more to come from Redmond.