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Microsoft Says Windows 10 Will Arrive this Summer

Microsoft's next desktop operating system will be available this summer, the company announced on Tuesday, a surprising change from the fall timeline forecasted by Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner back in December.

Microsoft announced the unexpectedly early delivery date at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC), taking place in Shenzhen, China, this week. In a blog post announcing the new release timeframe, Terry Myerson, executive vice president for the Windows platform group at Microsoft, said Windows 10 will be available in 190 countries and 111 languages when it launches.

The new summer timeframe is a wide window, giving Microsoft anywhere between June 21 and Sept. 20 to launch Windows 10. The expedited release may suggest that Microsoft doesn't want to miss this year's back-to-school season, a time when many students buy new systems. If that's the case, Windows 10 will need to be released in June or July, rather than late September.

The earlier-than-expected release timeframe also raises questions about whether Microsoft is looking to push Windows 10 out the door too soon, and whether it will arrive feature-complete. There are many new features Windows Insider testers have yet to see, such as a new browser component called Spartan, as well as another feature unveiled at WinHEC earlier this week called "Windows Hello."

Windows Hello is a biometric authentication tool for Windows 10 that is aimed at transitioning users away from passwords as their primary method of logging in to their systems. The feature provides system-level support for biometric authentication, including fingerprint and facial recognition, as a replacement for passwords, according to Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president for Microsoft's operating systems group, who unveiled Windows Hello at WinHEC.

PC makers have offered fingerprint scanners on a small selection of their PCs for years now. However, few used them and most devices today have done away with them. This time, it looks like Microsoft is aiming for biometrics that will be pervasive in Windows 10 devices.

"We're working closely with our hardware partners to deliver Windows Hello-capable devices that will ship with Windows 10," Myerson said in the blog. "We are thrilled that all OEM systems incorporating the Intel RealSense F200 sensor will fully support Windows Hello, including automatic sign-in to Windows."

Myerson also said that Microsoft is offering a new version of Windows for smaller Internet of Things devices, ranging from ATMs to medical equipment, via partnerships with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Intel, Qualcomm and others. That announcement reiterates statements made by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella earlier this week at the Convergence conference.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.