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Windows 10's new features: Cortana on the PC, Continuum, and more

Brad Chacos | Jan. 22, 2015
Microsoft showed off new, consumer-focused features for Windows 10.

windows 10 project sparta cortana
Cortana surfacing restaurant info in the Spartan browser.

Cortana is also being integrated directly into Spartan. "Because she knows you, she can help in more nuanced ways," Belfiore said, showing an example where searching for "Delta" in his address bar popped up information for the Delta flight Belfiore was scheduled to take later. Cortana will also pop up when you visit a restaurant's website, surfacing directions as well as information about the restaurant's menu, hours of operating, and Yelp reviews.

Improving PC games with Xbox
windows 10 xbox video
The Windows 10 Xbox app.

Microsoft's also bolstering Windows 10's gaming chops by deeply integrating Xbox capabilities into the operating system. A new Xbox app essentially looks like a more fully fleshed-out version of SmartGlass, letting you chat with your Xbox Live pals, view your achievement information, or access game DVR clips. The app also lets you like, share, and comment on game clips.

But Windows 10's new gaming chops is about more than merely expanding Xbox's footprint. While you're playing traditional PC games, be it in Steam or otherwise, a newWindows key + G keyboard shortcut brings up an interface for saving snapshots and 30 second video clips of your adventures, which then brings you into the Xbox app to share it. Games don't directly have to support the functionality as it's being overlaid directly by Microsoft in Windows 10.

windows 10 steam
Windows 10's new screenshot- and video-capturing tools will work with any PC game, including Steam games.

As previously announced, the performance-enhancing DirectX 12 gaming API is also coming to Windows 10. Xbox head Phil Spencer claims that the API can deliver up to a 50 percent performance improvement in games.

Microsoft also wants to enable more gaming experiences regardless of the device you're using. Fable Legends players on Windows 10 and Xbox One will be able to play with each other, and you'll be able to stream your Xbox One games directly to any Windows 10 device, though it sounds like it will be limited to local networks only, similarly to Steam in-home streaming.

Surface hub and Windows Holographic
The Surface Hub.

This has nothing to do with Windows, but it's a major-and unexpected-hardware announcement from Microsoft: The company's rolling out the Surface Hub, an 84-inch, 4K, touch-enabled display for office collaboration. You can read the full details here.

microsoft windows 10 holographic
IMAGE: MICROSOFT. Windows Holographic will build 3D imaging into Windows 10, which can be experienced using the HoloLens headset. 


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