On Thursday during the Credit Suisse Technology Conference, Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner provided more details about the Windows 10 "Threshold" roadmap (doc), reporting that the upcoming operating system may not appear on retail shelves until Fall 2015. We've heard this before, so it's no surprise. However, now we have an official timeframe rather than one generated from rumor and speculation.
According to Turner, Microsoft will talk more about the Windows 10 end-user experience in early spring. After that, the company will release a "developer preview" in early summer, and then launch the retail version of Windows 10 in late summer or early fall. Previous rumors pointed to a Q2 2015 or Q3 2015 release for Windows 10.
Mary Jo Foley added that a Technology Preview of Windows 10 will be shown in January. The company also plans to preview the Windows 10 mobile build that will work on ARM- and Intel-based hardware in late January. As for the "developer preview," she believes Turner meant that the company plans to reveal more regarding developers during Build 2015, which is expected to take place in the last week of April 2015.
In addition to Windows 10, Foley also believes that the touch-based apps for Office will be released alongside Windows 10 next year. These will allow customers to use Office apps (Word, Excel, etc.) on the Start screen rather than the desktop. With Windows 10 focusing more on the desktop user, these apps will likely make life easier for consumers working on a Windows tablet or phone. Touch apps for Office are already available on iOS and are in beta for Android.
During his presentation on Thursday, Turner said that Windows 10 is very unique, that it's different than any other Windows platform the company has developed thus far.
"We have actually taken those four OSes across our embedded operating system, which is basically for our Internet of Things and all embedded devices, our mobile operating system for our phones and phablets and tablets, as well as our laptop and desktop operating system and our Xbox operating system and built that single kernel across all of those entities," he said. "And the beautiful thing about that is it allows you to have one platform for drivers and apps."
Windows 10 is shaping up rather nicely. The company just recently released a major update to the platform for Insiders, but Microsoft won't provide another major feature update until the beginning of 2015. The latest Insider build, version 9879, includes improvements to Internet Explorer, gesturing and windowing, the ability to hide the Search and Task View buttons, and more.