Windows 10 to launch in 190 countries this summer, new OS will be all about internet of things

18 Mar 2015

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A Windows 10 Surface Hub meeting

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Microsoft has revealed that Windows 10 – its operating system that will transcend across all devices, from PCs, to tablets and smartphones, will launch in 190 countries and 111 languages.

Microsoft is also working with fast-growing Chinese smartphone-maker Xiaomi to bolt Windows 10 into Xiaomi’s Mi 4 devices. Selected owners of Mi 4 devices will be given a chance to help test Windows 10 in the coming months before release later this year.

Microsoft executive vice-president Terry Myerson announced the availability of Windows 10 at the Windows Hardware Ecosystem Community summit in China.

Microsoft announced strategic partnerships with Chinese manufacturers including Intel, Lenovo, Tencent, Qihu 360, Raspberry Pi Foundation, Qualcomm, Xiaomi and others.

In January, Myerson revealed 1.7m software developers have signed up to help shape the new OS in the coming months and collectively insiders have shared 800,000 pieces of feedback on 200,000 topics as part of what Myerson calls an “open development process”.

Also in January, Microsoft revealed new technologies, including the HoloLens, a holographic headset that is in effect the world’s first holographic computing platform, and Surface Hub hardware that includes a family of 55-inch and 84-inch large screens for team collaboration.

Biometric security will be built into Windows 10

The new operating system will come with new security features that will make it possible to log into your devices without passwords using Windows Hello, a biometric technology that will use your face or fingerprint as your passport for Windows and the web.

“Windows Hello will make Windows 10 more personal by providing instant access to your devices through biometric authentication – using your face, iris or fingerprint to unlock your devices – with technology that is significantly safer than traditional passwords,” Myerson said.

“We’re working closely with our hardware partners to deliver Windows Hello-capable devices that will ship with Windows 10. We are thrilled that all OEM systems incorporating the Intel RealSense F200 sensor will fully support Windows Hello, including automatic sign-in to Windows.”

It has also emerged that Microsoft is planning to kill off its Internet Explorer brand, replacing it with a browser that has been built alongside Windows 10 code-named Project Spartan. 

In January it was revealed the browser will have Microsoft’s artificial intelligence agent Cortana built in to show up when users need her.

The new browser also comes with a new rendering engine, as well as a note-taking ability that allows users to scribble or type notes directly onto a web page, keep the links alive and share the page with the notes with other internet users.

Gearing up for the internet of things

Myerson also revealed Windows 10 will be designed for the internet of things (IoT) from the get-go.

“For the first time, a new version of Windows for small footprint IoT devices will be available – for free – when Windows 10 launches.

“Windows 10 will offer versions of Windows for a diverse set of IoT devices, ranging from powerful devices like ATMs and ultrasound machines, to resource-constrained devices like gateways. Through key partnerships with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Intel, Qualcomm and others, we will provide great options for commercial devices builders, hobbyists and students.

“We also introduced the Qualcomm DragonBoard 410C to the Windows 10 device family. The Qualcomm DragonBoard 410C is the first Windows 10 developer board with integrated Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS, and a smartphone-class Snapdragon 410 chipset.

“Windows 10 is the only platform that supports innovation across such a broad family of hardware and we are committed to investing in the success of our partners and supporting their development activities,” Myerson said.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com