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All posts tagged Spartan



The Windows10 Briefing Is Over…

… if you watched it and weren’t impressed by the incredible display of passion and innovation and then you probably don’t have one uncynical bone in your body.

Windows10 by all definitions appears to be outrageously good and Microsoft have clearly been working tooth and nail to deliver what promises to be an incredible User Experience. Much of this they credit to the vast number of participants in the Windows Insider Program.

What Do We Know?

After an all-star cast from Microsoft presented various aspects of what Windows10 is going to be all about; here’s what we know: –

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  1. FREE in the first year: Microsoft will make it free, yes FREE to upgrade Windows 8.1 in the first year of Windows10 release. Note to all those misunderstanding this: after a year you aren’t going to get charged, stop being so daft. There’s more though: this free upgrade extends to Windows Phone 8 and Windows 7. Yes you read that right, if you have Windows 7 you can upgrade for FREE!!! Now I assume you will want to run a compatibility check to ensure your hardware can handle Windows10 but the implication is most of the hardware will be supported.
  2. UNIVERSAL Apps: Microsoft never does anything without one eye on their developer community and this is no exception. The big example cited is Office for Windows10. The new Office will work cross-device and have strong touch-orientation.
    1. Continuum is a colossally important feature. It’s all about responsive OS and behavior of devices based on context and use: docked hybrid devices act and display like a laptop, undocked Continuum allows them to behave like a tablet.
  3. CORTANA on the PC: Joe Belfiore and Cortana gave an amazing, humorous but informative presentation of just how Cortana will be implemented on the Desktop.
  4. SPARTAN: Microsoft reimagines the browser. This is not an attempt to kill Internet Explorer, instead this is a new browser to respond to the evolution of the web. Spartan is intended as a browser that maximizes productivity through richer interaction with web content.
  5. XBOX and Windows10: Xbox will have an app in Windows10 on every device. The app won’t only allow for social networking but will have some killer features:
    1. Game DVR for recording the previous 30 seconds, trimming and sharing epic moments from within the game.
    2. Direct-X 12 which will make drastic performance and resource improvements, and better power consumption for mobile gaming.
    3. Cross-platform game play between Xbox and Windows10 of games available on both platforms.
    4. Streamed play of Xbox only games from on Windows10 devices.
  6. Devices: this is where things get radically innovative: –
    1. The SURFACE HUB: Microsoft delivers the ultimate in work productivity and collaboration devices. This is a wall-mounted 84″, touch tablet with stylus, sensors, wifi and more: –
      1. Taking remote meetings and collaborating split screen will be just awesome.
      2. Wired or wireless connection for projected presentations.
      3. Whiteboard just by picking up the stylus and OneNote for the Hub appears.
    2. HOLOLENS and Windows HOLOGRAPHIC: Microsoft unveils a taste of future computing based on holograms. Instead of immersive virtual experience, the technology will exist and interact with our real worlds as holograms: –
      1. HOLOLENS is the wearable visor computer that allows the wearer to create, view and interact with Windows10 and through holographic versions of existing apps and by creating 3D holograms with an incredible Holographic Studio.
      2. Microsoft has created a whole new processing unit, the HPU to support what can only be described as the most incredible and covert (until now) of Redmond’s innovations.

    You can see an amazing video on Microsoft’s Hololens Page

    1. 2015 will be the year of undisclosed Windows 10 flagship phones.
    2. OEM devices. So far Windows 8 has encouraged some interesting devices from the OEMs. With geometrically greater levels of awesomeness from Windows10 we can expect even greater devices from the OEMs.

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The Warptest POV

Microsoft pulled out the big guns with the team that pitched Windows10 including CEO Satya Nadella, Joe Belfiore and Terry Myerson but the star of the briefing has to be Alex Kipman whose raw passion and drive and obvious high level of technical know-how shone through in his presentation of Microsoft’s Hololens and Holographic technology. When watching him I felt I was watching a Steve Jobs era Apple presentation.

Windows10 - Alex Kipman

The partnership with the Jet propulsion Lab and the demonstration of holographic interaction with the Mars Rover drove home how far Microsoft have pushed the boundaries of innovation taking this kind of wearable in a completely different direction from Google Glass. As one of the scientists noted in the short clip “they have made science-fiction into science fact”. In fact the announcement of a NASA App today led me to make this comment on Facebook:


Clearly Microsoft have brought their A game to Windows10 and adhered to the new reimagining of the company as the mobile first, cloud first, productivity company.

The free upgrade offering not just from Windows 8x or Windows Phone 8x but also Windows 7 is a huge change for the consumer and Microsoft. Whilst many of the more conservative Windows users will want to stay with Windows 7, the UX of Windows10 should make this a hard to resist proposition.

Cortana and Spartan are game changers for desktop and tablet devices and with Continuum the UX will at last truly tailor itself in a contextual and use case manner.

The demonstration of Xbox and the Xbox app left me impressed with Direct-X 12, the game demo and the Unity announcement make me think seriously about if and when I’m going to get back into gaming.

One has to wonder just how much of this innovation began under Steve Ballmer and has now come to fruition. Clearly, Hololens has been a long-term project in the making.

In a nutshell, as a Windows Insider with free access to the preview versions I’m only more excited to see these new features in action and test them for myself.

I’m giving Windows10 a strong Warptest recommendation. If you haven’t signed on as a Windows Insider you should do it now and see for yourself as well.


Today We Heard About Spartan…

ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley sparked off the internet and techie blogospheres rumor mill and speculations ran wild based on her report that Microsoft is building a new lightweight browser to run alongside Internet Explorer on Windows 10.

This is Spartan - 300 quote

With thanks to the movie, The 300 for the eminently quotable phrase. Screenclip via Youtube

Spartan is not going to be Internet Explorer the unconfirmed rumors start from there and include lighter, faster, more flexible and the inevitable comparisons to Chrome and Firefox in that Spartan will have extensions or plugins.

Sites like Gizmodo, Techcrunch, The Verge and others are in a feeding frenzy of speculation and many manage to either misunderstand Foley, indulge in the usual troll-like, anti-Redmond wishing-will-make-it-so or are just link baiting. To be fair to both Techcrunch and The Verge they manage to remain mostly calm and accurate.

My prize goes to Gizmodo for their “Report: Microsoft could ditch IE for a new browser named Spartan” as if tagging Report: at the start of any title legitimizes the magical thinking involved here. Remind me to add this to my “Unicorns live in my basement” post to give it extra cred.

What Can We Learn From The ZDNet Post?

After reading Foley’s post these are the four most noticeable points about Spartan: –

  • It will not be IE12.
  • This may not be another Halo homage (like Cortana) but may actually refer to the design, UI or UX of the browser.

Halo: Spartan Assault

Image courtesy of the Microsoft Store and Halo: Spartan Assault Game

The Warptest POV

Okay so we have an unnamed source and the likelihood that Spartan is not going to be ready for the next Developer Preview for Windows 10.

We can all take a deep breath in our respective brown paper bags, IE is going nowhere for now. Developers are not going to be left in the cold after building web apps or Add-ons for IE. That’s right, IE has add-ons which are basically a different name for Plugins or Extensions on other browsers.

A second browser in Windows 10?!?? Newsflash hotshots, there is a second lightweight browser in Windows 8 and 8.1. Search from the Charms menu or open IE in the Metro New Windows UI and presto, lightweight IE browser. Oh and BTW, both are faster than you might expect.

Mary Jo Foley does ask the very valid question of if we will see Spartan ported to Android or iOS. A year ago many of us would have scoffed at the idea but the last year has shown Microsoft investing major resources in developing for both mobile platforms. Taking that one step further, my question is will Microsoft make Spartan open source like .Net?

My advice to the Microsoft Marketing Team:

Pay whatever you need to recreate the “This is Sparta” scene and then segue into Leonidas surfing the web with Spartan.

One thing is for sure, I will be testing Spartan if and when it is released. How about you?