Many think of Microsoft as the aging dinosaur in the tech world. But this year is set to be the Windows 10 era, and it’s promising to be a very interesting time for the tech giant. Microsoft is doing more innovative things than it’s done in years, and the company is now arguably the most exciting company in tech.
Here are 10 of the most exciting things Microsoft is doing this year.
Windows 10 will thankfully fix most of the problems users had with Windows 8 – good riddance! Windows 10 will boast the triumphant return of the Start Menu and an optional Metro mode for us classic lovers. It will keep the positives of Windows 8 – faster boot times, deep OneDrive integration, a great search function, and iterative performance upgrades – while ditching the negatives – arcane swipe gestures, confusing tile layouts, lack of customization. Best of all, it’s free, showing that Microsoft is so much more than just Windows now.
In January of this year, Microsoft astounded journalists with a demonstration of its augmented reality device HoloLens. HoloLens will be competing with other virtual reality headgear such as the Oculus Rift. But the fact that Xbox games will be compatible with the HoloLens is a gamechanger. The HoloLens is estimated to be released as early as April 2015 along with Windows 10, or as late as December 2015. Price estimates also range from less than $500 to $1200.
Microsoft Flagship Smartphone
Microsoft recently unveiled two budget smartphones at Mobile World Congress, both of which would run Windows 10. But even more exciting, they promised to bring out a flagship Lumia smartphone later this year to launch with Windows 10. They’ve remained fairly quiet on the matter so far, so we’ll have to wait and see what new developments occur as they come.
Surface Pro 4
Each Surface Pro has been better than the last, so there’s good reason to expect the Surface Pro 4 to be something special. The tablet is expected to launch in two different sizes – one with a 12-inch display and a larger with a 14-inch display, run Windows 10, come with a 2160×1440 pixel-resolution display, up to 1TB of storage, and 16GB of RAM. Like the other products, it’ll likely be released within the Windows 10 release time-frame.
With Office 2016, Microsoft is looking to improve Outlook’s search functionality, storage footprint, and email delivery performance, along with improvements to Word and Excel 2016’s image insertions. The most visible change is that each Office application has its own distinctive colors now – blue for Word, green for Excel, red for PowerPoint, and Outlook bright blue. Microsoft has stated the current preview version does not yet contain all the features that will be there in the finished product, so keep your eyes peeled for any updates.
Halo 5, expected to launch in the fall of 2015, is likely to give the Xbox One a massive lift. Very few details have been released thus far, but the live-action Halo: Nightfall digital series will introduce an all-new character in Agent Locke to the series. The mysterious storyline of Master Chief will continue to be unveiled in Halo 5. Who is he, where does he come from, is he a traitor?
Bing as the default on iPhone?
Google is currently the default search engine on most of Apple’s products. Google pays Apple large sums of money for this privilege, estimated at perhaps 75% of all revenues on search ads clicked through Safari. At some point, Google’s deal with Apple will expire. Microsoft could easily swing in to replace Google and turn Bing into a powerhouse.
Numerous apps (Power BI, Sway)
Microsoft has been rolling out new business apps left and right, such as data visualize Power BI and creative presentation app Sway. Its new Azure app aimed at developers is the company’s latest move to becoming the new platform for exciting apps. Any one of these apps could take off and become Microsoft’s next big hit.
Cortana on iOS/Android
The virtual assistant Cortana will likely be available on iOS and Android in order to promote Microsoft’s vision of true “mobility of experience.” Doing so will allow the company to obtain more raw data for Bing and improve Cortana with, which is already miles ahead of Siri. This could be a huge move in turning more users on to Windows 10 PC or tablets, as well.
Goodbye Internet Explorer Hello Project Spartan
Microsoft has confirmed it will use a new browser in its Windows 10 OS currently codenamed Project Spartan. The company has tried unsuccessfully to shake off the negative images of Internet Explorer to no avail. Killing off one of their oldest and most recognizable sub-brands shows they’re committed to creating a new Microsoft era.