Business Boost | 25 February 2016 - by Henry Groom

Windows 10 – what’s new?

Since its release, it’s been downloaded to more than 200 million PCs and remains very much a hot topic in the technology world.

Windows 10 early success could be driven by the fact Microsoft has taken the best of its previous two platforms and combined them. But is it a winning combination?

To find out, we asked our resident tech expert Henry Groom to report on its key design features and applications. His response? “Hey Cortana, time for us to review it.”

Design

If you spent any time with Windows 8 you may be rejoicing now. The start menu is back. But don’t expect to say goodbye to the tiles, they’re still here and holding strong. These tiles are seen across all Microsoft platforms.

The transparent, flat look that most software providers try but often fail to achieve has been perfected here. The menus look crisp and delightful, but unfortunately are not always fluid and usable. That said, the screens and applications work well with the newly polished user interface and deliver a new look for the operating system.

Finally, Microsoft has really embraced mobile technology and ways of better enabling users, one example being the Continuum feature. This allows any device running Windows 10 to automatically change its look and feel depending on how you’re using it. So whether it’s a Surface Pro 4 used with a keyboard, or a Lumia 950 connected to a TV, the experience will be optimised to how you are using it.

Applications

Cortana

Get that funny feeling someone is listening? Don’t worry – Cortana’s not interested in your latest gossip, it just wants to help.

“Hey Cortana, remind me to get milk when I go out.”

Cortana’s one of the most capable virtual assistants I’ve used. After initial discussions with Cortana and asking the usual things like, “Hey Cortana, what’s the weather going to be like tomorrow?” it really started to understand more of my complex speech mannerisms, something other platforms have been unable to do.

Hello Edge, move aside Internet Explorer

Microsoft has introduced a simpler, more stylish browser to rival its nearest and dearest competitors.  The delays are long gone and replaced with a smooth and enjoyable experience. This, added to the fact that Microsoft has built a secure application from the ground up, means Edge really does deliver.  The challenge is trying to Remember there’s no Internet Explorer icon anymore.
Mobile

On average we check our phones 85 times a day, so it’s no surprise Microsoft is very much concentrating on a future in mobile.

Working in partnership with Nokia, it’s released various smartphones, and we’re now seeing a range of mobile devices with Windows 10, meaning the device can be connected to a computer monitor or TV and used essentially as a Windows PC.

Working from anywhere at any time is here: Microsoft has spent a lot of time and effort to ensure the “one platform/one experience” applies to its mobile devices too. The user interface feels the same as the PC or tablet without any real change other than the smaller size.

Business enterprise

It seems that every application or operating system nowadays is geared towards the business market. We know Microsoft has always been one of the biggest global suppliers of software to businesses, and that’s still the case. It has, however, boiled down and re-engineered Windows 10 to bring even more rich and practical ways of enabling businesses.

Starting from the bottom up, the enablement and deployment of the software is a breeze – a few clicks and a cup of coffee later and you’re on your way! There really has been a focus on simplifying not just single, but multiple deployments, to reduce time and management effort.

Secondly, the “one platform/one experience” mentality now truly builds on the seamless experience and enables a faster-paced working environment because you don’t have to convert, move, or have anything “feel” different when moving from device to device.

While this is the aspect of the changes Window 10 brings, a focus on user experience can sometimes leave protection and security dawdling behind. But not in this case. Microsoft has invested time and effort to deliver stellar security, by means of identity and data protection both within the operating system and tied to their products like SharePoint and its Enterprise Mobility Management platform, Intune.

Microsoft has also used this basis to expand its previous release of Bitlocker and incorporate the transfer and securing of flash drives, emails and cloud based storage services. This truly is a pronounced effort from Microsoft to deliver security for customers’ data, not just where it sits within a business but in transit too.

Summary

Windows 10 is a triumph for Microsoft.

As well as removing the problems and less attractive features from previous releases it has delivered new features and a new approach, all based around a very attractive design.

Some aspects aren’t for everyone, and some features may never be used. But where you really, really need it to work and “feel right”, Microsoft has more than delivered.