Microsoft unveils a big Windows update and virtual reality hand controllers


What it the real surprise is that Windows 10 on ARM has resurrected Windows RT in a bigger way in that it runs on ARM architecture. It was a free app that allowed Windows users to create simple mash-ups of photographs and video clips with basic transitions and other effects. Developers can also download a software developer kit for Microsoft's new Project Rome, allowing them incorporate their apps into Microsoft Graph so they will appear in the Timeline feature when the Fall Creators Update is released. For Windows Insiders, a preview build (16193) of Windows 10 Creators Update was made available on Thursday. This is the latest refinement to Microsoft's UI style that started as "Metro" in the Windows Phone 7 era. The Redmond giant used the venue to introduce a whole new visual identity to replace Metro, called Fluent Design. Even if the company gets back into the phone business in some form (Satya Nadella says it might, but the devices wouldn't look much like other phones), it would have to capture a considerable amount of market share before building bridges to iOS stopped making strategic sense. There are other parallels, too.

Microsoft encouraged programmers Wednesday to design applications that help Cortana do whatever people might want. Instead of battling it out with the likes of Android and iOS, the new plan seems to be to position the Windows experience at the center of the future digital lifestyle. The Verge reports that a special feature similar to what is found on Snapchat and Instagram will also exist, where people will be able to pin objects to someone or something as it moves. It's a spiritual successor to the Metro interface from Windows 8 that aims to make the operating system more responsive on the growing variety of devices employed by users.

This also syncs up with Cortana so if you open a new device, the virtual assistant will ask you if you want to go back to what you were working on and open it up for you.

Those who regularly swap between a PC and a mobile device at home and at work should be able to more easily pick up where they left off. As part of the same announcement, Microsoft revealed that it was opening offline access to folders within OneDrive on Android, with support for iOS users coming later this year. Now, when you open the Windows 10 volume mixer (most typically by right-clicking on the audio icon in your taskbar's system tray) you can manually configure the sound level for UWP apps separately from the overall system volume. However, some of the new features should deliver productivity enhancements for more traditional PC users. It knows its place, and, based on the work it's doing with Surface computers and Windows 10, looks quite comfortable with it.

Another new general-purpose feature is a cloud-powered Clipboard, which will allow users to copy something on one device and paste it into another. For example, one new offering unveiled yesterday, Presentation Translator, will use Microsoft's Translation APIs to enable real-time translations in a variety of languages during PowerPoint presentations.