SAN FRANCISCO – Microsoft announced that it will be delivering a new version of Windows 10, the Windows 10 Anniversary Update this summer, as the operating system has been among the most widely adopted operating systems in Microsoft history.
Showing off new features of the upcoming platform at the Microsoft Build 2016 conference here, Microsoft said the Windows 10 Anniversary Update will deliver significant new innovations for consumers and developers for the Universal Windows Platform.
“Windows 10 is off to an amazing start. It’s the fastest growing version of Windows with both consumers and enterprises,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, during a keynote address. “Windows is your ultimate dev box, where you can do all your application development for Windows and beyond right there on a Windows PC.
Added Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Windows and Devices Group, in a statement, “With Windows 10 now running on over 270 million active devices, we’re celebrating with our fans by delivering the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. This significant update will help you interact with your Windows 10 devices as naturally as you interact with the world around you — using your pen, presence and voice. We are dedicated to making Windows the most productive development environment for all developers, with all-new capabilities for the Universal Windows Platform and all-new tools for bringing apps to Windows 10 from any platform.”
Microsoft said Windows 10 adoption is outpacing Windows 7 adoption by 145 percent for the same time period for both launches. And customers have spent more than 75 billion hours using the operating system. In addition, Microsoft’s has seen more than 5 billion visits as Windows users look for Windows 10 apps, including nearly 1,000 Cortana apps.
Microsoft also launched a new Cortana Collection in the Windows Store. Moreover, enhancements to the Cortana Windows personal assistant and the Windows Hello personal sign-on feature help to deliver on Microsoft’s strategy to make personal computing more, well, personal.
The Windows 10 Anniversary Update also features new Windows Ink capabilities that enable users to write on their device as they do on paper, create sticky notes, draw on a whiteboard and share analog thoughts in the digital world, Microsoft said. New Cortana features enable users to receive proactive advice from Cortana and speak with Cortana, even while their device is locked, without logging in.
Microsoft engineer Kevin Gallo said Windows Hello now extends the security of Windows 10 to multiple devices and to Microsoft Edge, so you can log into your devices and websites with enterprise-grade security.
Meanwhile, with the new developer access to the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), every Xbox One can be a developer kit with Xbox Dev Mode, enabling anyone to develop for the living room, Myerson said.
Microsoft to Ship Windows 10 Anniversary Update This Summer
Microsoft also announced it is now shipping its Hololens holographic computing system and the Hololens Development Edition with the Windows Holographic SDK and emulator. And with Project Centennial, Microsoft is shipping a new desktop app converter that will enable developers’ Win32 and .NET apps to gain access to UWP and the Windows Store. That means more than 16 million apps will now be available to the Universal Windows Platform.
Moreover, Xamarin, which Microsoft recently acquired, will make it easy to share code across platforms—Windows, iOS and Android — while delivering native experiences for each,” Gallo said. “Also, our open source Windows Bridge for iOS enables iOS developers to bring Objective-C code into Visual Studio, and compile it into a UWP app,” he noted.
“For over thirty years, Windows has been an open ecosystem, welcoming the contributions of hardware and software partners and developers around the world,” Myerson said in a blog post. “Nothing changes with the Universal Windows Platform – it brings together the openness that is part of Windows’ history, as well as everything that you expect from a modern application platform – like robust install, uninstall, and seamless updates. Our goal is for Windows to be the best platform for ALL developers – making Windows their home and getting the best return on their investment in their code.”
John Rymer, an analyst with Forrester Research, said he believes that Microsoft taking its capabilities beyond Windows into other apps and on other operating systems really seems to demonstrate that core functions that power Microsoft are bigger than an individual operating system.
“Other examples include support for Ink and Cortana ‘above the login screen,’ he said. “I think it’s a wake-up call to developers. If you thought the changes mobile phones wrought were big, you’ve not seen anything yet. Voice, converged reality with Hololens, and augmented intelligence with bots are the next generation of UI tools they will need to learn.”
Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, said he believes we could see a very different Windows 10 world a year from now, if we could see 500 million Windows 10 PC users added to Xbox One then added to HoloLens numbers. “This starts to get really compelling for mobile developers who are staring at one billion active iOS users and two billion Android users,” he said.
“I’m sure Microsoft wishes it were further along with Bridges and Xamarin, but they aren’t right now, but we could see the fruits of this next year,” Moorhead noted. “The reality is that the development significantly shifted from Windows 7 to Windows 8 to Windows 10, where it’s all about Universal Apps. What Microsoft has done is sweeten the pot for the Windows 10 platform by adding deep pen support and Windows Hello support further into the platform and apps. Cortana is more usable, too, as it can improve the experience not just through the app, but through Microsoft apps like Office 365 and open to developers, too,” he added.