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Windows 10 unveiled boasting Spartan web browser, the Cortana personal assistant and a free upgrade incentive

Microsoft has unveiled its Windows 10 next generation operating system with OS head Terry Myerson promising it will accommodate the broadest range of devices ever.

Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president, operating systems group

Following Microsoft shunning CES 2015, on Wednesday the computing giant streamed live to the world the features of its Windows 10 operating system - after announcing in October that it will skip Windows 9 to distance itself from the poorly received Windows 8.

The new platform boasted compatibility on PCs, mobiles, tablets, phablets, laptops and the Xbox One games console with users of Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Mobile offered a free upgrade to Windows 10 in the first year following its release. A move which could encourage Windows users to update their systems: following the news that half of Windows PCs run Windows 7 with a further fifth running on the 14-year-old Windows XP.

The operating system, trialled by three million volunteers, runs with the new tagline “More personal computing” and sees Microsoft personal assistant Cortana, previously available only on Windows smartphones bundled with Windows' Internet Explorer replacement Spartan – named after the protagonists of the critically acclaimed Halo videogame series.

The Cortana assistant will grow smarter with use, capable of organically retrieving data, auto-filling forms or booking reservations in a move Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of the operating systems group at Microsoft, claimed would “change the way people use PCs”.

On Cortana’s integration Belfiore said: “Voice is a going to complement other ways of interacting with the computer not be a substitute, if you had to say every command instead of touching or clicking, then that would be annoying.

"But if you can quickly say to Cortana, for example, schedule lunch with my mum next Tuesday, then that is powerful."

Most importantly for many users, the Start Menu has made a return to the bottom left of users’ screens although users can customise the UI to resemble that of Windows 8 if they wish to do so.

In a final push for cross-platform compatibility, Microsoft announced that that its gaming system the Xbox One will soon operate using Windows 10.

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