Windows 10 update to be released in September will be bringing in ‘mixed reality’ features enabling users to tap into augmented reality and virtual reality technologies, the software giant revealed.
The new Windows 10 update, which will be fourth for the operating system, will be released on October 17.
“We’re enabling you to immerse yourself in a new reality – mixed reality,” Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s executive vice president in charge of Windows, said in a speech at the IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin.
Microsoft also took the opportunity at IFA 2017 to announce plans by computer and virtual-reality headset makers to introduce new hardware for businesses, consumers and video gamers to take advantage of so-called “mixed reality” features in the October software release.
Mixed reality is the term Microsoft uses to describe software that covers both augmented and virtual reality. Augmented reality overlays text, sounds, graphics and video on real-world images that users actually see in front of them, while virtual reality creates entirely computer-generated worlds.
The multimedia content can be viewed on computers, TV displays, smartphones, tablets or, in the case of virtual reality, on dedicated goggles. Microsoft plans to target these features first at advanced video game players using VR headsets, with business applications to follow, officials said.
Microsoft is not alone in this niche with many more players either working towards launching products or have already found some presence through their offerings.
Microsoft, which has largely remade itself into a supplier of cloud services delivered via the internet, has moved to a roughly six-month release cycle for feature updates of Windows from its three-year release cycle for disk-based versions of its operating system software.
The company also announced a range of devices from key hardware partners ready to take advantage of mixed reality features in the Windows 10 update available in mid-October from vendors including Lenovo, HP Inc, Dell, Acer, Asus and Fujitsu.
Microsoft’s new software release shrinks the laborious set-up of VR headsets for users to around 10 minutes, down from two to three hours now and helps cut the costs of headsets, in a step towards making such technology more mainstream, they said.
Other new Windows 10 features include a refreshed Photos app and the capacity to save files up to the cloud using Microsoft’s OneDrive service, without consuming local storage space. Win10 will also offer “Game Mode”, which allows video gamers to devote the full processing power of their computers to what they are playing, as if it was an Xbox game console, the company said.