Forget the Cortana personal assistant, Action Center notifications and refreshed desktop. The best feature Microsoft announced today is the Windows 10 price. Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for Windows 8.1 users and that’s just the least interesting thing that Microsoft announced concerning the Windows 10 price.
Microsoft took a stage this morning at its Redmond, Washington headquarters to talk about Windows 10 and how users will get it on their notebooks, desktops, smartphones and tablets. It was at that point that Microsoft shocked everyone with the Windows 10 price.
Read: Windows 10 Revealed
Microsoft says that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for everyone who has Windows 8.1 installed. That means even devices running Windows 8, the operating system Microsoft released back in 2012 will be able to upgrade. The company didn’t stop there either. To date, it’s most successful Windows operating system in years has been Windows 7. With Windows 7 getting older, it’s time for those users to upgrade soon. Instead of forcing users to pay for Windows 10, Microsoft says it’ll let everyone running Windows 7 Service Pack 1 to upgrade to Windows 10 too.
To be clear, the free Windows 10 upgrade offers seems to only be for the first year that Windows 10 is available. After that it seems like Microsoft will began charging for the operating system. What the Windows 10 price will be after that remains unclear.
Windows 10 is custom-made for users who want new features, but weren’t comfortable with sticking Windows 8 on their device because of the Start Screen and Charms. Continuum makes Windows Store apps full screen when it doesn’t detect a keyboard. When there is a keyboard, Windows 10 looks and works a lot like Windows 7. Microsoft mentioned Windows 7 so much into today’s presentation that it’s hard not to notice how many Windows 7 users never bothered with Windows 8.
Many potential Windows 8 upgrades didn’t appreciate having the Start Screen forced on them. Many more found the Charms Bar, a small PC of UI that held things like Start and Search to be annoying. It automatically opened when someone place their mouse in the top-right corner of their screen.
The big attraction today might have been pricing, but Microsoft still took time to focus on other exciting stuff happening in the Windows 10 time frame. Cortana was a big chunk of today’s event. Microsoft showed off new commands that users could use to play music or set reminders. Additionally, Microsoft showed off Cortana on the PC’s always-listening feature. Users will be able to ask Cortana questions or give her orders without pressing a single button on their device. Today, always-listening is only available for Cortana for Windows Phone 8.1 on the Lumia 1520, Lumia 930 and HTC One M8 for Windows.
Besides the notebook and desktop version of Windows 10, Microsoft showed off Windows 10 for devices that are smaller than 8 inches. Windows 10 for phones and tablets is meant to be a companion for Windows devices. Action Center, Cortana, and even the Start Screen included new features and customization options like backgrounds. Microsoft says it’s building out all of its apps and turning them into universal apps. The plan is to allow universal apps to seamlessly work between devices. The first one of these that Microsoft showed off is its Office suite of productivity apps. Today’s event was the first time we’ve seen Windows 10 for phones. Microsoft says it plans to begin letting users download a test version of Windows 10 for devices small than 8-inches soon.
Microsoft says Windows 10 will arrive as an upgrade later this year.