Windows 10: What features are we missing?
There are some features which were available in previous builds – and even shown on-stage at the enterprise-focused event earlier this week – which didn't make the Technical Preview of Windows 10 this week. In this article, we will take a look at those missing features…
Before we begin, we must remind readers the aim of the preview is to allow users to shape the ongoing development before the final version launches next year. We speculate Microsoft will release each “big” feature at a time to allow the team to focus on each individual element.
Windows 8's notifications are great for seeing your alerts at-a-glance, but if you're not around to see them, there is no "notification center" where the user can catch-up on anything missed.
In build 9834 we saw a glimpse of a centralised location for notifications which – despite needing some polish – will make for a welcome inclusion. The current Test Preview build is 9841, and no notification center is in sight, which leads credence to features being removed for a later point.
Microsoft's new virtual assistant for Windows Phone is helping users get work done, keep track of what's important to them, get to their appointments on-time, find places to eat, and do just about everything else a good assistant should.
Cortana is unique in two important ways; First off, the AI collects data in her "notebook" to learn more about the individual and their preferences. Next, developers can add their app's functionality to Cortana to extend her capabilities.
There are references to Cortana in the preview, as found by Stephen Chapman of MSFTKitchen, but Chapman himself admits he didn't have to look hard to find the references...
Microsoft had a bold and brilliant vision for Windows 8 of one OS which scales across devices, has one app store, and therefore makes development a dream. It fell flat on this promise by not getting the various platforms (Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows Phone 8, Xbox…) in-shape and sharing the same APIs.
The software giant created a new interface to help achieve this aspiration; but it shunned the traditional keyboard and mouse users who make up most of Microsoft's customers. It also made the use of legacy apps confusing so IT departments were hesitant to update due to potential training costs.
To make it less-jarring for users coming from XP and Windows 7, Microsoft has introduced 'Continuum' in Windows 10 which is aimed at easing the transition between desktop and touch. When a keyboard and mouse is detected, the desktop will be used. If just a touchscreen is available, a revamped "Start Screen" will be used with bigger elements to assist with navigation.
For hybrids, if you are working on the desktop with an app open, and you remove the keyboard to continue your work on-the-move, on-screen elements will be scaled-up to be more usable with a touchscreen.
It's an elegant solution, but despite being demonstrated on-stage at the Windows 10 event, it isn't yet in the technical preview. Even on a Surface removing the keyboard has no effect and the user is stuck on the desktop mode until delving into the toolbar menu to re-enable the start screen.
Windows 10 is taking shape, and it's great that Microsoft has opened its doors at such an early stage of development for users to give direct feedback. The company has a clear idea about what the future of computing should look like, and all signs are pointing towards their vision being realised this time.
Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President of Operating Systems at Microsoft, says we are seeing "less than 10%" of the features which will be included in Windows 10, and most of the "cool consumer features" will come at a later date.
It could be seen as shame we're not seeing some of those features now, or even some which were seen at this week's enterprise-focused event, but we'd rather look at it as there is a lot more to be excited about coming in the pipeline and the updates should roll-out thick and fast…
What would you like to see in the final Windows 10 release? Let us know in the comments.
Update 17:24: One reader knows what he wants to see!
@Gadget_Ry Clippy!— Ad (@iAdam360) October 2, 2014