SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Microsoft on Friday (Sept 1) announced that a major update to its Windows operating system will be released globally on Oct 17.
Release of Windows 10 "Fall Creators Update" will come the same day that Windows Mixed Reality headsets powered by the software hits the market, Microsoft executive vice-president of operating systems Terry Myerson said in a blog post.
Unlike virtual reality gear already available, Windows headsets made by partners such as Acer, Asus, HP and Lenovo will not require cameras to track user movements, according to Myerson.
Windows headsets will be priced as low as US$299 (S$406), and will need to be plugged into computers powered by the Fall Creators Update, Microsoft said.
The US technology titan showed off the Windows 10 update at the company's annual developers' conference early this year to encourage creation of offerings tuned to the software.
At the time, Myerson said the update will offer, among other upgrades, "enhancements in gaming, security, accessibility, and immersive new experiences made possible by Windows Mixed Reality." The original version of Windows 10 debuted a little more than two years ago.
The latest version of Windows 10 is being built into a wide array of devices that will be on the market in time for the year-end holiday shopping season, according to Microsoft.
The company promised an audience of more than a billion people for those who develop services or applications for Windows 10.
Microsoft has highlighted how Windows 10 will let software savants serve up creations on the full spectrum of smart devices, including the HoloLens augmented reality headgear.
"By combining our physical and digital worlds, we believe mixed reality is the next step in the evolution of human computing," Myerson said in the blog post.
Microsoft was left behind in the smartphone market, which is dominated by Apple and Android-powered handsets.
Designing Windows to make Microsoft cloud services available from competitors' devices and moving quickly in the nascent mixed-reality market were seen as shrewd moves by the company.
Windows 10 is designed to power all kinds of devices, from wearable computers to smartphones to desktop machines, and an application needs to be written just once to perform on all of them, according to Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella.
Nadella said at the conference that "the mobility of the experience is what matters, not the mobility of the device."
To get Windows 10 adopted quickly, Microsoft plans to give it away as a free upgrade for a year after its release.