Well all the speculation is finally over – for the most part anyway.

Windows 10 was launched into the consciousness of Windows enthusiasts around the globe earlier today. It was no more apparent then by the fact Microsoft’s blog post about the next version of Windows and the Insider Program website were knocked offline by the crush of traffic. I think there just might be a few people interested in this upcoming version of Windows.

As of right now I still can not get those webpages to pull up in my browser.

The event, which was invite only and hosted in San Francisco, lasted just under an hour and was followed by a Q&A session.

Windows 10 was revealed by Terry Myerson who is Microsoft’s lead for Windows and Joe Belfiore who is in charge of the user experience for Windows did the demo for the gathered press.

My thoughts on some of the features that were announced/demo:

  • Windows 10 is the true merging of Windows 7 and Windows 8.  I love Windows 8 and have from Day 1 on all of my devices/machines (touch/non-touch) but if even what was demoed today was the interface when Windows 8 hit the streets with two years ago I do not think Windows 8 would be so disliked by consumers.
  • The re-imagined Start Screen is a great blend of the strength of Windows 7’s Start Menu and Windows 8 Start Screen. The shock factor is gone and the transition is much smoother. People will make this transition a lot easier than they did to Windows 8.
  • Productivity wise I think the option for multiple desktops, the new Task View and the improved Snap options will be a multi-taskers dream.
  • Continuum. As the hardware form factors started changing with Windows 8 in the market , especially the convertible devices, this would have also helped people transition to a touch interface as well by letting the UI fit the devices mode of operation.
  • Charms Bar. I am still concerned about the loss of this and Joe Belfiore confirmed that element of the UI was definitely being changed. I just want its replacement to be as intuitive as I find the Charms Bar for sharing links, stories, web pages, etc. to other apps.
  • Windows Insider Program. This is brilliant in a couple of ways. With an open feedback mechanism Microsoft will receive tons of input on what works and what does not. I am sure they will be able to easily analyze those amounts of data to collate what the predominant trends are – both positive and negative. The other thing this program will do – telemetry. As in past public previews of Windows I have no doubt that a requirement to participate in the program is that it will be sending Microsoft oodles of data about how you use your device.  Microsoft will also be able to analyze that data and continue to understand how every element of the OS is being used. Microsoft must also listen intently to this feedback and act on it. An added bonus of the Insider Program is having access to a much faster pace of builds to test with and I have no doubt this is also a small scale test of distributing OS updates once Windows 10 hits the market.

Like many of you I am excited about getting my hands on the technical preview bits tomorrow but make sure you take some time to plan how you will test Windows 10.

Here is a collection of the official Microsoft links and those of the tech press about today’s Windows 10 announcement.

Microsoft Links about Windows 10

Tech Press Links about Windows 10

So what do you think of the info that is now out officially about the next version of Windows?