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By now you’ve no doubt heard the news: Windows 10 is coming later this year.


“Wait a sec,” you’re thinking. “Did I miss Windows 9?” Nope. Perhaps because this ambitious new operating system is so far ahead of what’s available now, Microsoft chose to skip a number.


“Windows 10 marks the beginning of the more personal computing era in the mobile-first, cloud-first world,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “Our ambition is for the 1.5 billion people who are using Windows today to fall in love with Window 10 and for billions more to decide to make Windows home.”


Whether it’s for work or play, and regardless of the device(s) you’ll be running it on, Windows 10 looks to be a promising new platform.


Here’s a quick look at why we’re excited about this “new era of personal computing.” Be sure to bookmark TELUS Talks Business as we’ll take a deeper dive on some of these features in the months to come.


1. It’s not just for “computers”


Windows 10 was designed to adapt to multiple devices – and not just laptops and desktops. From smartwatches, phones and tablets to personal computers to servers in datacenters, you’ll have a consistent, familiar experience across multiple devices. Windows 10 can also power tiny sensors (as part of the “Internet of Things” revolution), TVs (via Xbox One), 80-inch interactive whiteboards (“Surface Hub”) and even hologram-generating augmented reality goggles. Windows 10 will offer a new app experience, consistent across devices, all tied together through the cloud (OneDrive). Hey, we said it was ambitious.


2. New ways to interface


Mice, keyboards and touchscreens are all well and good, but the next-generation of devices might also be used via pens, gestures, voice or with no input by people at all (machine to machine communication). Along with the aforementioned HoloLens technology, arguably the most exciting Windows 10 input innovation is Cortana, your own voice-activated personal digital assistant. Available on phones, tablets and PCs, Cortana – which is named after your virtual assistant in the Halo video game series – is at your beck and call, whether you ask “her” to pull up a recent sales report or photos from a recent birthday bash.


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3. The web, reimagined


Personally and professionally, many of us rely on the web multiple times throughout the day. A brand new web experience for Windows 10 is code-named “Project Spartan” (also a Halo reference), which will not only be fast and secure but include advanced features like annotating on websites (via keyboard or pen); simplified sharing of content with colleagues or friends; a distraction-free reading mode (online and offline support); support for extensions (unlike Internet Explorer); and integration of Cortana for finding and doing things faster and more intuitively.


4. A smarter Office


Along with “classic” mouse and keyboard integration, Office for Windows 10 will also be built for touch, to support the next-generation of touchscreen devices like tablets, 2-in-1 PCs (including detachables) and big-screen all-in-ones. Even with these changes, Microsoft says new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook will “offer the unmistakable Office experience customers know and love.” PowerPoint will offer new inking features that lets users annotate slides in real time, while “touch-first” controls in Excel will make it easy to create and update spreadsheets -- without a keyboard or mouse.


5. Working for you


Speaking of 2-in-1 devices – which, as the name suggests, are both a laptop and tablet in one product -- Windows 10 will include a “Continuum” mode that makes it easy to move between keyboard and mouse and touch and tablet as it automatically detects the transition and conveniently switches to the new mode for you. Specifically, in devices like Microsoft’s own Surface Pro 3, Windows 10 can switch from a classic desktop when the magnetic keyboard is attached to the full touchscreen tablet experience, with Live Tiles on the Start screen, when the keyboard is removed.


6. Workplace hub


As seen at the Windows 10 announcement last week, a new Microsoft Surface Hub optimizes Windows 10 experience for groups in the workplace. Available in two sizes -- 55-inch and 84-inch -- the Microsoft “Surface Hub” can empower teams to create their best work together on this large-screen device, which supports multi-touch and digital inking, along with built-in cameras, sensors and microphones. Take advantage of the full Windows 10 experience, along with Skype for Business and Office 365, optimized for touch, to engage with those onsite or joining remotely.


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7. User-interface enhancements


Windows 10 offers a number of user-interface (UI) tweaks to help you get more done in less time. For example, the familiar Start menu is back in Windows 10, plus it brings with it a new customizable space for your favourite apps and Live Tiles. Everything runs in a window, be it native apps or Windows Store downloads, but you can always maximize, minimize and close with a click or tap. A New task-view button on the taskbar lets you quickly switch between open files and access to any desktops you create (see below). Finally, File Explorer now displays your recent files and folders, making it easier to find your work.


8. Bring on the desktops, multi windows


Now that many of us are using larger monitors for work – I’m currently typing this article on a 28-inch all-in-one desktop – Windows 10 will let you better take advantage of that extra real estate. You can now have four apps “snapped” on the same screen, thanks to a new quadrant layout, plus Windows 10 will also show other apps running for additional snapping (and even make suggestions on filling available screen space with other open apps). Also new is support for multiple desktops: create unique desktops for different projects (or segregate your 9 to 5 life from your 5 to 9 world) and easily toggle between these desktops to pick up where you left off on each.


9. It’s a free upgrade


Another reason why you’ll love Windows 10? It’ll be a free upgrade to those running Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1. If you consider all the cost-conscious small-to-midsized businesses out there, looking at their budgets very closely, the announcement of a free upgrade is certainly a welcome one (and for students and families, too, who might’ve just purchased a new PC with Windows 8.1 preinstalled). According to, more than 56 percent of computers run Windows 7, while 9.5 percent run Windows 8.1 and just over 4 percent run Windows 8.


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10. And a little fun, too


Windows 10 will let you stream games directly from your Xbox One to your Windows 10 devices over Wi-Fi, therefore you can play games on multiple devices (including online games against friends); capture, edit and share your greatest gaming moments with those who matter; and on select games, enjoy console-grade graphics and speed thanks to Windows 10’s new DirectX 12 application programming interface (API). Microsoft HoloLens also offers cutting-edge interactive entertainment experiences as we’ve seen in this video, which includes a hologram version of Minecraft!