Editor’s Note: This post will remain at the top of ClintonFitch.com until after the Windows 10 event on Wednesday. Please see newer posts and news just below it on the front page.
As I write this we are less than 48 hours from what arguably is one of the biggest events for Microsoft in many years. I’ve compared the excitement to this event to that of when Windows 95 was being rolled out and I don’t think I’m far off in that statement. There are a lot of people – Microsoft lovers and haters – who are looking forward to Wednesday, January 21st with anticipation.
I’m certainly one of them.
The main thrust of the event is clearly Windows 10 but there are likely to be a lot more things announced at the event, all of which in some what touch Windows 10 and the drive Microsoft has to be “Mobile First, Cloud First” and “One Windows for Everyone”. Here is a rundown of what I think we will see on Wednesday at the event when it comes to Windows 10, Windows Mobile and a few other bits-and-bobs. No matter what, it’s going to be a busy and big day.
As a reminder, you can watch the event live on Microsoft’s Live Stream of the event.
Windows 10 Consumer
The most obvious thing we will see is Windows 10 for the consumer. It will be introduced at this event and those in the Windows Insider program would see beta bits of it as early as Wednesday. The technical preview for enterprise has been out for some time and is already rock solid by most accounts. I expect that what we will see in the consumer version is a late beta with a full release sometime this summer. If they are going to hit a summer release (some are hinting at May) then this beta is going to have to be pretty far down the road in stability.
With this release we are going to see the new vision for the Start button and Modern apps over that of Windows 8.1 and we are going to see even further advancements in security and stability. Windows 8.1 has proven to be a very reliable OS from a stability perspective and Windows 10 will build on that tradition. We should also get our first proper look at the Spartan browser, the next generation of Internet Explorer. This new browser will be a rich user experience and will have Cortana integration built into it for quicker searching and content finding. Early leaks have show this to be very impressive and by the time we do get to general availability this Summer or Fall, this could be the killer feature of Windows 10.
Windows 10 Enterprise
I suspect we will see an updated Enterprise version of Windows 10 also be announced. This has been the Technical Preview that has been out for several months now and it should get a major step forward on Wednesday. Don’t be surprised if you see the Enterprise and Consumer versions share the same build number – just slightly different functionality on the Enterprise side of the equation.
Here is where Wednesday could get really interesting. Microsoft has made it clear they want one Windows no matter what device you consume it on. To that end, we likely will see our first glimpse of Windows 10 for Phone, likely to be renamed Windows Mobile. Frankly, I do not expect a massive difference between Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows Mobile. However, the background processes are the key to this being successful. Microsoft is pushing for universal apps for Windows PC and Windows Mobile. If they want developers to do this then they have to make it easy for apps to work cross platform. That is exactly the goal and there have been hints of this already in Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 (See Microsoft Bingo as an example).
While I do not expect Windows Mobile to be available on Wednesday, I do expect it to be soon. The Windows Insider app has already been released and is ready to go for those in the program to load up the latest version on their Windows Phone devices. The good news too is that Windows Mobile is expect to be released on all Windows Phone devices. That means everything from the low end to the top end will see it in time. This is a HUGE step forward over the Windows Phone 7 to Windows Phone 8 upgrade which wasn’t an upgrade. It was a replace your phone upgrade.
Office for Windows Mobile
As part of the Windows Mobile news, I fully expect a mention for the new Office for Windows Mobile. Microsoft has been criticized for releasing the new Office for iOS and Android before Windows Phone. Personally I didn’t like it either and have been vocal about the need for an Office upgrade for Windows Phone. But I get it. They needed to get these apps on these main stream platforms out there and updated. Now it’s Windows Mobile’s turn.
I expect to see a fully revamped user experience, far greater file control and editing features and full integration with OneDrive (which is pretty much there already). We should also see our first hints at Office 16 which will be fully touch supported. While I don’t think we will see that on Wednesday, the first “touchy” parts we should see in the Windows Mobile builds.
New Windows Phone Flagship Phone
As much as I’d love to see one, I don’t think we will see one on Wednesday. While a new Windows Phone running Windows Mobile would be awesome, I don’t think the timings work for us to see that this week.
No matter how you look at it, this is going to be a big event. Windows 10 is being defined as Microsoft’s next chapter and early signs point to it being a powerful and potentially game changing release. We’ll have a much better idea of game changing after Wednesday.