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At WinHEC Microsoft makes a number of important announcements

Last night, at #WinHEC, #Microsoft made several #Windows10 announcement, some of which could be very significant for the OS.

Summer Release

Microsoft reaffirmed that Windows 10 will be released this summer in 190 markets and supporting 111 languages. Microsoft appears to be sticking to its original schedule, which is good, as it had previously been vague about the release but is now providing a little more clarity.

With previous versions of Windows Microsoft has come in for criticism because the release was after students returned to school, meaning students didn't have the latest hardware and software. A summer release should rectify this with Windows 10 and be welcome by students.

Hardware Specs

Until this point it wasn't clear what the minimum hardware specs are for the new OS but at WinHEC Microsoft stated what they will be. Its good to see that the minimum requirements are unchanged for low end devices with 512MB RAM and 4GB storage, although devices with only 4GB storage will need an SD card too. For "mobile" devices the supported screens sizes are from 3" to 7.99", this is the limit for when a device will be treated as more than a phone or phablet. Windows 10 "mobile" devices will be able to have resolutions from 800 x 480 up to 2560 x 2048. Both the larger screen sizes and higher resolutions suggests we might see some high resolution Windows phablets later this year, that could be great.

On Windows 10 "desktops" there is a only a minimum screen size, 8" for the consumer version and 7" for the Pro version. Interestingly, these version types are new, we've not seen this information before.

Windows 10 Android ROM

Microsoft and Xiaomi will be running a Windows 10 Preview program for a select group of users allowing them to install the OS on their Android devices and provide feedback to Microsoft.

This ROM will offer a native like Windows 10 experience for the Android users. This will be far more important to Microsoft than its Android apps as it increases the number of people and devices that could the new OS.

Xiaomi will be using some of its most active users for this program, the company already does a user feedback work so knows which users are going to be able to provide the most useful information.

New Hardware OEMs

Lenovo is now joining the growing list of companies manufacturing phones running Microsoft's OS. With little information yet about these devices it is unclear if they'll be Windows Phones or Windows phones (notice the case), I would assume they will launch with Windows 10 though.

New Partnerships

The most important announcement Microsoft revealed is that it has entered into a number of partnerships with some of China's biggest technology companies, including Tencent who will bring QQ to the OS.

These companies have announced that they'll be bringing there apps and services to Windows 10. This is great news and is perhaps an indication that more large companies will be bringing new Universal Apps to the platforms. This will go someway to address the app gap on Windows.

However, the real value of these partnerships is that these companies will help Microsoft to move users off of previous and counterfeit versions of Windows. China has a very large number of users running XP or illegal versions so anything that could change this week be great for Microsoft. It shouldn't be a hard sell with the OS bring free.

In turn, upgrading of users' PCs will see the user base of Windows 10 grow alongside any promotions the new OS partners will be doing. The number of users will be important when trying to get developers to create apps for the platform, this might help with that.

In China, it appears that Microsoft should be off to a strong start with new apps and a large user base.

What do you think of these announcements from WinHEC, I think they are great. Now where is that next build?

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