Windows 10 Expected to Drive Major PC Sales Drive
When Windows 7 burst on to the PC scene, it was with a welcome rush of new hardware and bounding performance into a marketplace that had stagnated somewhat. It's simple to use interface was familiar to those running the years old Windows XP but didn't have any of the stigma associated with the name Windows Vista.
By the time Vista was replaced, it had actually become a decent operating system, with solid performance and good features. But the damage had already been done. Windows 7 was a clean slate and it did just the job for IT professionals and consumers alike.
Windows 8 should be applauded for trying something new and there is much that is good about the OS. As with Vista, it has turned into a robust and very solid OS thanks to its Windows 8.1 Update. Mouse and Keyboard users can rejoice as they use the OS, but also as with Vista the damage has been done in the early days and general adoption has been slow, but improving.
It is with this in mind that Microsoft have announced their new OS, Windows 10 and made it available almost a year before release in Tech Preview form and it looks almost like Windows 7 with a fancy lick of paint. Look a little closer and you'll see that it has all the useful features of Windows 8 also.
Enterprise users are excited and the technical preview has been downloaded by over 1 million Windows Insiders - Microsoft's programme for access to the Tech Preview, available for free to anyone.
OEMs also appear to be excited because if Microsoft get this right, it will be the shot in the arm that the flailing PC industry has been looking for.
There are around half a billion PCs aging away for those who moved to Windows 7 a number of years ago and thus far have stayed away from Windows 8. These users are likely to skip Windows 8 and upgrade to computers with Windows 10.
At the recent Credit Suisse Technology Conference, Renee James, president of Intel Corp., suggested that:
“When we see a healthy macroeconomic environment and an aging installed base we expect a new OS deployment. The PCs are fantastic and at new price points. That’s kind of a perfect storm, combined with a new OS, and the OS usually pushes the upgrade cycle,”
All major PC makers are expected to support Windows 10 when it is released later next year, ensuring that work is completed to customize drivers and products for Windows 10 - the very thing that blighted Windows Vista.
Windows 10 is expected to allow developers code an App once as a Universal app that will let users run the same App on mobile and desktop devices, thereby solving a perceived problem with Windows 8 / Windows Phone 8 / Windows RT.
Windows 8 caused some confusion with separate tablet and desktop interfaces, one of the reasons business wanted to skip the OS. In Windows 10, the Tablet Interface is essentially disabled in the Technical Preview and is expected to be displayed in an updated form with the "Continuum" interface early in the new year. This interface will automatically switch between touch first to "mouse and keyboard"-first depending on whether a device is in tablet mode or had a keyboard attached.
A lot about Windows 10 is still unknown, with Microsoft scheduled to hold a number of events early in 2015 to cover the consumer features of Windows 10 and the Developer features will be detailed in April's BUILD conference.
The impact of Windows 10 on PC shipments is still unknown at this stage. It is expected that PC upgrades may first take place among consumers, as businesses test the OS and wait for initial kinks to be ironed out.
If Microsoft and Hardware manufacturers play their cards right, the "Consumerisation of IT" as one firm calls it - where a consumer will bring their own Smart Phone, Tablet or Laptop to work and thereby drive adoption at work as a supported platform - will be the