Microsoft has confirmed that it plans to launch Windows 10 across all its supported platforms this summer, covering 190 countries and 111 languages.
Previously known as Windows Threshold, Windows 10 marks a shift to a rapid release cycle similar to its major rivals in the operating system market. As well as acting to consolidate its varying platform offerings - Windows Phone, Windows, and Windows Embedded brandings will all be dropped by the wayside in favour of a general Windows 10 moniker regardless of device - Windows 10 promises numerous improvements over its predecessor Windows 8.1 including reduced storage footprint, the shiny new DirectX 12 API, and a hybrid Live Tile and Start Menu interface for desktop devices.
Microsoft had previously confirmed that it would be offering Windows 10 as a free upgrade to Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 users across phones, tablets and desktops for the first year following its release. Now, Windows head Terry Myerson has offered a slightly firmer launch schedule in a blog post
. While no formal launch date is provided, Myerson claims that Windows 10 will launch in 190 countries and 111 languages this summer - putting, realistically, a late-September deadline on the release before Microsoft could reasonably be said to have missed the window.
Myerson's blog also includes details about integrated biometric authentication features coming to desktop and laptop devices for the first time, interfacing with facial, iris and fingerprint recognition hardware under a banner dubbed Windows Hello. Intel's RealSense F200 sensor, positioned for high-end laptops, has been confirmed as the initially-targeted platform, with 'all OEM systems
' incorporating the device to receive support.
Myerson's post also details the Windows 10 freebie for Internet of Things (IoT) projects, previously announced as launching for the Raspberry Pi 2 single-board computer. As previously hinted, Windows 10 for IoT will be made freely available to all, and support embedded development boards from Raspberry Pi, Intel, Qualcomm and as-yet unnamed others.
At the same time as these announcements were being made at the Windows Hardware Engineering Community (WINHEC) summit in China, Microsoft also released the first official system requirements for the new operating system. These are, unsurprisingly, largely unchanged from Windows 8.1: desktop-class machines will require an 800x600 display or higher, 1GB of RAM for a 32-bit install or 2GB for a 64-bit install, and UEFI 2.3.1 with Secure Boot enabled. 16GB of storage will be required for a 32-bit install, while 64-bit users will require 20GB.