During the Microsoft 2015 Build conference, Joe Belfiore took the stage to talk about how developers can easily build apps and take advantage of the new operating system. More importantly, he showed off a bunch of features and improvements, which are not available on any of the public preview of Windows 10, but they will arrive eventually.
It is worth pointing out that many of the improvements Microsoft showed off during the Build conference are already part of Windows 10 build 10074. So this article focus only on a few of those features and improvements that we know are in the pipeline and aren't available on any of the Insider previews.
Let's look at what Microsoft is planning to include in future builds of its operating system:
While we have already seen Microsoft adding transparency and blur effects to the Start menu, the company will continue to tweak the menu. For example, during the Belfiore's demonstration, using Windows 10 build 10072, we can see that the company is cleaning up the layout by removing the full-screen button from the top-right corner. They are also bringing File Explorer and Settings options to the bottom of the menu above the Power options. In addition, both options include new minimalistic icon designs.
Windows 10 will also bring the jumplist menu to the Start menu. Microsoft will also make jump lists available for other apps as well, instead of a drop-down menu, like the one we have seen throughout the public previews.
For discovery and engagement, Microsoft will add a "Suggested" list, which will deliver smart suggestions of apps from the Windows Store if after a while you haven't installed any apps. You can also notice that the app tile also provides star rating and pricing information for a particular app.
As the system learns your behavior using and installing apps, the Suggested list will become the "Recently added" list of apps. And when the users use the app enough, the apps will then get listed in the "Most used" list.
Microsoft's Belfiore also noted that with these new tweaks, the Start menu is pretty much a final product. As such, we don't expect any more significant changes beyond what we see today.
While in Windows 10 build 10074, Microsoft introduced an improved version of Cortana with new UI elements and functionalities. Using build 10072, Belfiore showed off the ability for Cortana to launch apps and perform different tasks. Cortana will also feature app discoverability from the Windows Store as users use search.
Moreover, the software maker is connecting Cortana's natural interaction and spoke natural language with other apps. This feature will allow users to perform tasks using only the Cortana canvas without opening an app or launching an app to perform a certain task.
For example, in future releases of Windows 10, users will be able to command Cortana by saying things like "Cortana: Start a chat with Joe on Viber". In that case, Cortana will start a Viber communication with Joe using the Viber app.
Another scenario is where you could ask Cortana to get something done for you, such as "Cortana: Tell Joe, I'll be late for dinner tonight". In this scenario, Cortana will execute the command without opening the app.
And be sure that Cortana will continue to evolve, in future updates, the personal assistant will get additional tweaks in the user interface and even more integration with the overall Windows 10 experience.
For example, in Windows 10 build 10110, one of the improvements Microsoft is experimenting with is a new Cortana animation as you launch the assistant using the "Hey Cortana" command. This action will launch a mini, tile-like, version of Cortana with a black background.
During the BUILD conference, Microsoft finally announced the real name of the web browser, which is "Microsoft Edge". It is worth pointing out that the Windows 10 build 10074 still ships with the browser using "Project Spartan" codename.
This design is the new logo, which many people will find very similar to the old logo for Internet Explorer.
Future updates of Microsoft Edge will include a new "New Tab" window with the most recent links users have visited in the form of tiles. If the site they visited has an app available in the Windows Store, you will see "Get the app" notification in the link tile as well.
Microsoft will be making use of the space in the New Tab canvas, and it will display different personalize widgets to users. So that users can get the latest news, weather and sports information, suggested apps, and a lot more.
Another feature coming to the Windows 10's web browser is extension similar to the extensions found in Firefox and Chrome. However, initially Microsoft Edge will not include this feature, the company says extension support will arrive after the Windows 10 launch.
The good news for developers is that they will be able to port easily extensions they already created for other browsers to Microsoft Edge with little modifications.
On small tablets, Microsoft is improving Continuum with a modified version of the Start menu when it used in Tablet Mode. The new menu includes bigger tiles, which users will find very familiar to the Windows 8.1 Start screen. On the top-left corner of the screen, there is a new hamburger menu button to access the "Most used" apps, the "All Apps" list, File Explorer, Settings, and Power options. In addition, the taskbar will also feature a global dedicated back button.
The software maker also showed off Continuum for phones, which is a new idea of expanding the phone capability to a PC-like experience when connecting the headset to an external monitor. Using Continuum for phones, users will be able to use apps in full screen as they appear on a desktop computer. Furthermore, users will be able to connect a keyboard and mouse or use the same phone as a virtual mouse and keyboard.
Wrapping things up
As you can see, while we have seen many new features and hundreds of improvements in the preview versions of Windows 10. There is still a lot more improvements and features coming to the next generation of the operating system.
However, Microsoft has already confirmed that many features will not be ready on time for the launch of Windows 10. This delay will be the case of extensions for Microsoft Edge and probably the new Skype integration that we have seen during the Windows 10 event back in January.
In addition, plans also include the ability for developers to brings Win32 apps to the Windows Store and easily port Android and iOS apps into the Windows 10 ecosystem. These tools will come after the RTM release.
Microsoft continues with the plan of releasing Windows 10 later this summer as a free upgrade for those PCs running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 in 190 countries and 111 languages. Windows Phone 8.1 users will also receive Windows 10 as a free upgrade, but it just will not happen at the same time Windows 10 desktop is released to the public. The software giant has already announced that Windows 10 will launch in several staggered events and each launch will focus on different groups of devices.
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Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.