As it turns out, Microsoft doesn’t have plans to launch its Windows 10 operating system this fall before the holiday season like many believed. This week the company announced that it’s planning the Windows 10 release for this summer instead.
Microsoft announced the Windows 10 release window at WinHec, a hardware focused event held in Asia. It’s at that event that Microsoft’s partners usually show off the notebooks, desktops, 2-in-1s and phones that they plan on launching over the next year and this year.
Speaking at the event Microsoft’s Terry Meyerson confirmed that the Windows 10 release is happening in hundreds of different countries during the summer saying, “We continue to make great development progress and shared today that Windows 10 will be available this summer in 190 countries and 111 languages.”
Many had expected Microsoft to simply finish developing Windows 10 sometime this summer for a Windows 10 release this fall. That’s how the company handled the Windows 8 and Windows 7 launches.
Microsoft shocked just about everyone when it revealed that Windows 8 and Windows 7 users would be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free for the first year. In the past Microsoft charged users with computers they wanted to upgrade as little as $100 to get the latest version of Windows. Worse, it charged more for users who didn’t have a legitimate copy of Windows. Like any expensive piece of software, piracy of Windows is somewhat high here in the United States and ridiculously high in China. For years the company tried to force users into buying a real copy of Windows with the Genuine Advantage Program, a way for it to hunt down illegal copies of Windows. With Windows 10, Microsoft is changing its approach.
We already knew that Windows 10 would be free for Windows 8 and Windows 7 users. What we didn’t know was that Microsoft is planning to hand out free copies of the operating system to those who currently have pirated versions. In an interview with Reuters, Meyerson confirms the move.
“We are upgrading all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10,” Meyerson told the media outlet. The move means that absolutely any PC that has the hardware necessary to run Windows 10 will be able to. What’s more, earlier this year Microsoft confirmed that it planned to use switch upgrade models for Windows entirely. Windows 10 won’t be available as a free upgrade permanently, but the company says computers than can make the jump will get updated overtime.
Windows 10 will require users have a display with a resolution of 800 x 600 pixels. Users who want the 64-bit versions of the operating system will need 2GB of memory and 20GB of free storage. Users will also need a processor with integrated graphics capable of DirectX9 and a UEFI capable motherboard. Basically, anything that’s running Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 today. Microsoft also confirmed that what it’s referring to as Windows Mobile will run on devices all the way up to 8-inches. Anything above 8-inches will run the Desktop version of Windows 10.
We haven’t yet seen tons of new Windows 10 hardware from WinHec as the show is just starting. Presumably, there’ll be a lot of devices with hardware support for the Windows Hello feature that Microsoft hopes will rival the iPhone’s own TouchID technology.
For Windows 10 Microsoft is rolling out Xbox Live support for gamers, a resizable Start Menu for notebooks and desktops, a single store for all devices running Windows 10 and its Cortana personal assistant.
Early versions of Windows 10 are already in the hands of PC enthusiasts who joined Microsoft’s Windows Insider Program.