At long last, Microsoft has finally given a release date for its highly-anticipated Windows 10.
The U.S. technology giant said its new operating system will be available from July 29 in 190 countries, and that users of Windows 7 and 8.1 will be able to upgrade for free.
“With Windows 10, we start delivering on our vision of more personal computing, defined by trust in how we protect and respect your personal information, mobility of the experience across your devices, and natural interactions with your Windows devices,” Terry Myerson, executive vice president at Microsoft, said in a blog post on Monday.
Windows 10 is the Redmond, WA company’s first major operating system release since the heavily-criticized Windows 8 in 2012.
The company is betting big on the software, and aims to make Windows 10 the go-to operating system for a range of devices, from personal computers to smartphones.
One of its key features is called “Universal Apps.” This system enables developers to easily create apps which will run across all Windows devices, whether it be a smartphone or PC. Developers normally have to write different codes for different devices.
Taking on board user criticism following the last version of Windows, Microsoft said it was bringing back its classic start menu.
The company is also making a lot of noise about Cortana – its digital personal assistant that learns your preferences and provides information, much like Apple’s Siri. Microsoft is also overhauling the “Internet Explorer” web browser and launching a new one called “Edge.”
Windows 10 marks a huge shift in Microsoft’s thinking. Once, the operating system was something the company could sell and earn a lot of money from; now, it is a means of accessing a large number of consumers and offering a range of services across different devices. In the past, people upgraded their operating system every couple of years, but now updates will be more regular.
“We will continue to update Windows 10 over time with new innovations to help you be more productive and have more fun. Like Windows 10 itself, these updates will be free for the supported lifetime of your device,” Myerson added.
Users wanting to get their hands on Windows 10 need to register their interest online. When it is available, customers can schedule a time to download it.