Free Windows 10 upgrade goes live in NZ

Microsoft says Windows 10 will be available from July 29 in 190 markets, including New Zealand.   Chris Keall talks about the release of Windows 10 on NBR Radio and on demand on MyNBR Radio.

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LATEST: Microsoft has made Windows 10 available in New Zealand today, as scheduled. The free upgrade went live at 4pm, making New Zealand Windows users the first in the world to be able to download the new OS.

EARLIER: Microsoft says Windows 10 will be available from July 29 in 190 markets, including New Zealand.

As expected, the new operating system will be a free upgrade to customers running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 on a PC or tablet (there was no Windows 9, for murky marketing reasons).

Microsoft says Windows 10's rollout will be expanded to cover hones, Raspberry Pi, Xbox One, HoloLens and more — with more than 2,000 devices or configurations already in testing.

Microsoft says more than four million people worldwide have installed the pre-release version of Windows 10. NBR's technology editor is one of them; he says it has been stable and mostly bug-free since the new year.

Windows 10 includes a number of new features including the Siri-like Cortana* voice assistant, and the ability to live-stream games from Xbox to PC. But the one most users will welcome is the return of the Start menu, which was zapped from Windows 8 as Microsoft moved to a more touchscreen-friendly 'tile' interface that is similar across Windows 10 PCs, tablets and smartphones (despite the return of the Start menu, Windows 10's live tile interface still represents something of a  culture shock for Windows 7 users).

Microsoft has already started what Computerworld US calls a "nag campaign" from July 29.  A new icon will appear on your PC’s System Tray shortly (if it hasn't already) with the message "Get the Windows 10 App, which will provide an easy path to follow for getting your upgrade underway.”

Microsoft NZ, marketing and operations director Frazer Scott is forecasting hundreds of thousands more new Windows devices to ship to the New Zealand market this year (as with previous upgrades, new computers will ship by default with the latest version of Windows).

Mr Scott says there are currently two million devices in New Zealand running either Windows 7 or 8.1 whose owners will be eligible for the free upgrade offer.

Will Cortana be optimised for the New Zilund accent, as Apple recently did with Siri?

NBR put the question to Microsoft NZ's Frazer Scott who replied, in short, No not yet. His longer answer: "Windows 10 lets you search the web, search your personal content and control settings on your PC. In order to provide the high-quality experience of a digital personal assistant, Cortana requires extensive work on local voice models and the continuous availability of rich local data. We will continue to develop market by market to ensure a great Cortana experience. We too are eager to share Cortana with Kiwi’s but cannot yet confirm timelines.”

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