January 2015 Updates

Windows 10 overview

On January 21, 2015, Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) announced the finer details of Windows 10, its latest operating system (or OS). The company also announced the probable date this OS will hit the markets.

On January 21, 2015, Microsoft held a special Windows 10 event to show how Windows 10 will run across PCs (personal computers), phones, tablets, and the Xbox One gaming console.

It’s also been speculated that Microsoft will try to offer Windows 10 as an annual subscription rather than a one-time buy. However, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella refuted the change in business model.

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Microsoft’s Windows 10 has new web browser

In its Windows 10 release, Microsoft (MSFT) announced that Windows 10 will include a new web browser called Spartan. With Windows 10, Spartan will be the default browser. It will feature both a refreshed interface and other improvements that were not included in Internet Explorer (or IE).

The Spartan web browser is equipped with built-in Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant with its contextual searching. So if a person looks up a restaurant on Spartan, Cortana will throw in a map, a menu, and contact details.

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Windows 7 customers get to download Windows 10 for free, but only for a year

The Windows 10 download will be free for customers who are currently running Windows 7 or later versions, including Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1. But the download will only last for the first year of its release.

The important thing to note here is that Windows 10 is not a free upgrade for the first year. It’s a free upgrade for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users within the first year of its launch.

The Windows 10 operating system is expected to be launched in late 2015. At the end of the free one-year window, users who wish to continue using Windows 10 have to pay for a subscription.

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Outlook arrives for iOS and Android

Microsoft announced on January 29 the availability of Outlook for iOS and a preview of Outlook for Android. The apps are live in the iOS App store and Google Play stores and provide a high quality email experience along with traditional Outlook features.

These apps, along with Android Office apps being finalized, are all about Microsoft making sure it has its products where customers are consuming content. With the company no longer saying that Windows will be first, as noted by the fact that both iOS and Android now have touch versions of Office available while the Windows version is still in development, it lets consumers choose the device that works best for them and still allows them access to Microsoft software.

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Word, Excel and PowerPoint released for Android Tablets

On January 29, 2015 Microsoft released versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint ported for Android tablets. The current system requirements for Office on Android tablet are: devices of screen sizes 7 inches or larger (a device with screen size greater than 10.1 inches will require an Office 365 subscription to create and edit), with an ARM based processor and 1 GB RAM or above. Today, the Android OS version that is supported is KitKat4.4.x. While you can use the apps on an Android tablet running Lollipop, it is not supported at this time but will be in a subsequent update. Microsoft is also committed to supporting Android devices with Intel chips via a native implementation that will be available within a quarter.

When you use the apps for personal use, core editing is free and premium features require a qualifying Office 365 subscription. When used for commercial use, you need a qualifying Office 365 subscription for editing and premium features.

Please download Word, Excel and PowerPoint from the Google Play store.

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OneNote Free on Multiple Platforms

Microsoft recently expanded availability of OneNote by releasing a custom free version for Mac, making it possible for users to collaborate across multiple platforms: Windows, Mac, Windows Phone and tablets, iPhone and iPad, Android, and Web browsers. This allows Office 365 subscribers more options to share their files and collaborate with people using other platforms.

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In addition, Microsoft recently released Office Lens, an app that integrates with OneNote to allow phones and tablets to act as pocket scanners to capture image and text data.

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