What to expect from Microsoft's Jan. 21 Windows 10 event

Here's what you'll likely see in Windows 10 and Windows Phone 10

windows 10 launch
Credit: REUTERS/Jason Redmond

A week from today, on January 21, Microsoft is expected to preview and release the next version of Windows 10. Here's what to expect from it.

Windows Phone 10

It's no secret that Windows Phone has so far been a failure, lagging well behind iOS and Android, with under a 3% market share according to IDC. Its market share actually fell in 2014.

Microsoft is betting -- hoping, really -- that the newest version of Windows Phone will change that. The company is expected to show off the first version of Windows Phone 10 on January 21. What to expect? Some people believe that Windows 10 will combine the existing version of Windows Phone with Microsoft's ill-fated Windows RT operating system. Others believe that Windows Phone 10's interface will be overhauled to match it more closely to the XBox One and Windows itself. Microsoft is expected to release beta of Windows Phone 10 by the end of the month.

Windows 10

Microsoft is also expected to show off the current state of the consumer version of Windows 10. What to expect? Microsoft has been particularly tight-lipped at this point. You can most likely expect more refining of the company's attempt to unify what in Windows 8 is essentially two different operating systems, one for touch, and one for traditional non-touch computers. Bugs will most likely be squashed.

As to how the update will be delivered, people may be able to get it in two different ways: Via Windows Update for those who installed the first Technical Preview, and as an ISO file so that it can be installed freshly, or even on virtual machines.

New "Spartan" browser

Windows 10 is expected to have two browsers: The traditional Internet Explorer, and one code-named Spartan which will be lightweight, stripped-down, able to run add-ins, and be closely integrated with the Cortana Siri-like digital assistant. A version of Spartan may or may not be revealed. Stay tuned for more about Spartan, because I'll be writing a blog post devoted entirely to it.

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