Windows 10 build 9901 shows new consumer features

— 6:00 AM on December 15, 2014

A little more than a month from now, Microsoft will pull back the curtain on Windows 10's consumer features. Thanks to Paul Thurrott of the eponymous SuperSite for Windows, though, we can already catch an early glimpse of what Microsoft has in store. Thurrott has posted a whole boatload of screenshots from build 9901 of Windows 10, showing such things as:

  • A more fleshed-out version of Cortana, Microsoft's voice-activated digital assistant, complete with a search field right in the taskbar.
  • A unified Store app that combines "apps, games, music, and movies & TV" with "document-style vertical navigation" (meaning, hopefully, no more horizontal scrolling).
  • Revamped Xbox and Photos apps.
  • A new Settings app that "shows how Microsoft may replace both PC Settings and Control Panel with a single UI." Microsoft replacing Windows' weird mish-mash of new and old control panels seems long overdue.
  • Plus some visual styling changes, including a black taskbar, new buttons on Modern UI window frames, and a handful of fresh wallpapers.

It's still early days, but honestly, I'm pretty impressed with the way Windows 10 seems to be shaping up. At least so far, Microsoft seems to be doing everything right. I just hope that PC gaming announcement Phil Spencer teased the other day is more than just another empty promise.

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