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Microsoft unveils Windows 10, HoloLens virtual reality glasses

HARRY TUCKER

MICROSOFT this morning unveiled the future of Windows, detailing the features inside Windows 10 and also showing a few surprises.

The big focus for Microsoft was the unification of all its products, and trying to offer users a seamless experience whether they’re on their phone, tablet or computer. However, the biggest news was Microsoft’s new virtual reality glasses.

Here are the biggest things Microsoft announced:

Windows 10, the start menu returns

Microsoft is still trying to make an operating system that will work well on both PCs and mobile devices, and it hopes Windows 10 is it. It now includes a start menu that expands to look like Windows 8’s home screen and a new Action Center where you can quick toggle settings. There’s also a new feature called continuum designed to make the switch from keyboard and mouse to touchscreen seamless. They all seem like little things, but Microsoft is confident it will significantly improve the whole experience. The update will be free for a year for everyone who is already on Windows 8.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella demonstrates the new features of Windows 10.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella demonstrates the new features of Windows 10. Source: AP

Your phone is now your computer

While Windows Phone 8 was loosely based around the computer operating system of Windows 8, Microsoft’s new Windows 10 will be the same Windows on phone but with an interface better suited to mobiles. The main advantage of this is that missing apps, or poorly designed apps for Windows Phone will hopefully be a thing of the past. This is due to apps made for Windows also working on your phone. Microsoft also announced Skype integration into the messaging app and notifications that will sync between your computer and phone.

Microsoft's Joe Belfiore showed off how your phone will be running the same Windows.

Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore showed off how your phone will be running the same Windows. Source: AP

Your computer is now your Xbox

Microsoft wants to improve gaming on your computer, and is doing so by bringing over social features from Xbox like chat, friends list and activity feed. The big news though is that you can now stream Xbox One games on your computer or tablet, much like Sony’s Remote Play.

Lauran Carter, of Lionhead Studios shows how you can stream Xbox One games to your Surfac

Lauran Carter, of Lionhead Studios shows how you can stream Xbox One games to your Surface tablet. Source: AP

A giant touchscreen TV

It’s not meant to be a TV for you and I to watch at home, but rather for the workplace. Called the Surface Hub, it features an 84-inch 4K screen, has cameras, speakers, mics, bluetooth and a touchscreen interface. The idea is that you can have meetings with people appearing on screen via Skype, while you draw on the screen and share work between everyone’s devices.

Microsoft’s HoloLens headgear that overlays 3D objects on the real world.

Microsoft’s HoloLens headgear that overlays 3D objects on the real world. Source: AFP

Holograms are real… kind of

Easily the most unexpected piece of news was Microsoft’s entrance into augmented reality. Named HoloLens, Microsoft’s set of glasses overlays holographic images over the real world. The demonstration video including architects walking through building renders, someone playing Minecraft on a tabletop and even a virtual dog. Microsoft’s ‘father of Kinect’, Alex Kipman described HoloLens as the future of technology, art, and everything. It’s equipped with sensors that detect the real world and the users gestures while not needing to connect to a phone or computer.