Windows 10 revealed, World Economic Forum explores global complexity and Cortana gets personal — Weekend Reading: Jan. 23 Edition

This week, Microsoft introduced the next generation in more personal, more mobile and more intuitive computing with Windows 10. We also got the 411 on Cortana’s persona. Apparently, there was room for more excitement, following the Seahawks miracle win to return that that annual pro football championship.

On Wednesday, Microsoft unveiled more about Windows 10 – how it will “inspire new scenarios across the broadest range of devices, from big screens to small screens to no screens at all,” explains Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Operating Systems. Windows 10, he says, “is the first step to an era of more personal computing. … We are moving Windows from its heritage of enabling a single device – the PC – to a world that is more mobile, natural and grounded in trust.” Windows 10 also means a more customizable and intuitive experience on your smartphone, including a new version of Cortana, a better Web experience and a new suite of apps.


Also, as part of the new era of Windows, Microsoft introduced Surface Hub, a simple, intuitive Windows interface designed for groups with ink and touch at its core. Surface Hub includes the best digital tools to help teams brainstorm and create together, like the OneNote-based Whiteboard. It’s also engineered to make meetings more productive with built-in sensors and wireless content sharing.

Speaking of Cortana, have you ever wondered about the woman, the hero, behind that helpful voice? In Halo lore, Cortana was created when the brilliant human Dr. Catherine Halsey cloned her own brain. She is imbued with both the intellectual and emotional prowess to serve and protect humankind. “Cortana very literally thinks like a person, but she does it at a tremendously faster speed,” says Frank O’Connor, Franchise Development Director at 343 Industries. “Her morality, her sense of humor and emotions are human. They’re real, and they’re ostensibly organic.” Our /stories team has everything you’ve ever wanted to know about our favorite virtual assistant from the future.


The key challenge posed at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year is this: What can we do to kick-start economic progress amid global complexity? For Microsoft, the answer is clear, although not easy, “It’s about reinventing productivity through technology, enabling people to get more out of every moment,” says Jean-Philippe Courtois, president of Microsoft International. Courtois and other Microsoft execs went to Davos this week to listen, learn, meet other global leaders and be inspired by the leaders of tomorrow. They talked about how the company is re-thinking technology to create tools that are increasingly intelligent, natural, mobile and focused on empowering social productivity.

Registration for the Build 2015 developer conference kicked off this week, and with it, the promise to go deep on Windows 10. “Beyond existing platforms, building apps for Windows 10 opens up an entirely new generation of personal computing,” says Steve Guggenheimer, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for Developer Experience & Evangelism. “The new experiences and touch points offered by Windows 10 will open up an incredible new opportunity for developers.” Though the conference filled up fast, it’s never too soon to join the waitlist.

Windows 10 also means new apps for Office that deliver a universal touch and mobile-first experience across devices. These apps will be free and pre-installed on phones and small tablets running Windows 10, and will be available to download from the Windows Store for other devices. In other app news this week, Spotify got a makeover, Cortana can now tweet from the updated Twitter app for Windows Phone 8.1, and in China, farmers are using the power of Azure Machine Learning to inform the Dr. Pig app, which helps them decide on the types and quantity of pigs that will maximize their profits and minimize risk so they can run their business more efficiently.

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This week on our global adventure to find people who #DoMore on the Microsoft Instagram page, we featured Whitney Cubbison, Microsoft communications director and amateur photographer who started a photo diary to chronicle her life as an American in Paris. For the past three years, she has taken a photo every day with her Lumia, giving her and others a whole new perspective. Follow us on Instagram to meet more people like her.


Go ahead. Use the hiatus from the football playoffs this weekend to get caught up on all the excitement in tech news this week. Come back next Friday to see how January winds up. … Oh, and Go Hawks.

Posted by Aimee Riordan
Microsoft News Center Staff

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