Update: Following the January 21 event, check out our post-event chats with Microsoft execs, like CEO Satya Nadella sharing his thoughts on the nitty gritty of Windows 10, which you can read below. Plus, it looks like the next major Technical Preview build is just around the corner:
Why Satya Nadella wants you to love Windows 10
Read our interview with Terry Myerson to discover the fate of IE, RT and MSRP
With Windows 8 and now Windows 8.1, Microsoft tried – not entirely successfully – to make tablets part of a continuum that goes from number-crunching workstations and high-end gaming rigs through all-in-one touchscreen media systems and thin-and light notebooks down to slender touch tablets.
The general consensus is that it still has a long way to go to produce a unified OS. Recently, Microsoft publicly made the first steps to doing just that, with Windows 10. Skipping the Windows 9 name entirely, the Redmond, Wash. firm aims to step into the next generation of computing with the right foot forward.
Microsoft's Windows 10 Technical Preview is available through its Windows Insider Program website. You'll need a Microsoft account to get it, and it's worth bearing in mind that it's not the finished product, so it will be a bit rough around the edges.
Is the new OS any good? Read our hands on Windows 10 review
While information regarding the Windows 10 Road Map slowly trickling through with each reveal event, this is what we know so far regarding the stymied release of Windows 10:
Starting with Windows Technical Preview (WTP) for laptops and desktops back in September 2014, the preview build extended to select smartphones on February 12.
The latest major WTP build launched on January 23, 2015 and was made available to download through Microsoft's Windows Insider Program.
Currently, the WTP is at Build #9926, with the next major release said to land within the next month.
The Technical Preview will end sharply on April 15 of next year, which conveniently leaves right off at...
Microsoft's Build 2015 conference next April, at which the company will have even more announcements and likely issue a Windows 10 release date.
The company promises a release to consumers and enterprise "later in the year" in 2015, Myerson said during the January 21 event.Cut to the chaseWhat is it?
A complete update of WindowsWhen is it out?
It could launch as early as June 2015What will it cost?
For Windows 8.1 users, it will be free for one year
How much will it cost?
Confirming recent reports, Microsoft's Terry Myerson announced that Windows 10 will be free for Windows 8.1 users for its first year. While there's no word on pricing for users still on Windows 7 or an older version, Microsoft confirmed a while ago that the two most recent Windows versions will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 directly.
Microsoft's chief blogger Brandon LeBlanc also confirmed that Microsoft will support those who scored a free upgrade to Windows 10 with security and system updates for the lifetime of those Windows 8.1 devices.
But most recently, Neowin cited sources claiming that Windows 10 will start appearing on consumer hardware this coming June. Simultaneously, news that Microsoft has trademarked the term "Microsoft 365" with the intent of it being a service has folks buzzing about the possibility of a subscription-based Windows to come, though that's not likely to be Windows 10. Oh, we hope not.
Read all about Windows Phone 10 and Office 365 right here
Step into Microsoft's new Office
Shortly after a leaked video on WinBeta revealed Microsoft's Universal Office apps in detail, the company issued an update to the Windows 10 Technical Preview with just that. WTP users can now download the new Word, PowerPoint and Excel Universal apps.
Like the whole of Windows 10, these apps are designed to work on Windows 10 laptops, tablets and phones. This update comes in advance of Office 2016, Microsoft's desktop-based version of the suite, which we expect to see debut in the second half of 2015. It's likely that Office 2016 will interact with its Universal app counterparts through OneDrive and other solutions.
Bill Gates's not-so-little secret
The co-founder and long-time former CEO of Microsoft has been working on a secret project for Microsoft known internally as the "Personal Agent," Gates revealed in his third Ask Me Anything on Reddit recently. This Personal Agent is a piece of software designed to remember everything you do on a PC and provide guidance for how to prioritize and assistance in interacting with those apps and files.
"One project I am working on with Microsoft is the Personal Agent which will remember everything and help you go back and find things and help you pick what things to pay attention to," Gates disclosed on Reddit. "The idea that you have to find applications and pick them and they each are trying to tell you what is new is just not the efficient model - the agent will help solve this. It will work across all your devices."