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Here’s the Big Update Coming to Windows 10 Next Year

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DON EMMERT—AFP/Getty Images Microsoft executive Megan Saunders introduces Paint 3D at a Microsoft news conference October 26, 2016 in New York.

Microsoft is adding lots of 3D and virtual reality features

Augmented and mixed reality are coming to Windows 10 next year, in a package Microsoft calls the Creators Update.

Microsoft’s goal with this update is to make three-dimensional computing available to everyone. To accomplish this, Microsoft will be making Windows accessible in virtual reality. Various PC makers like Lenovo, Acer, Asus, and Dell will be making VR headsets that work with Windows 10 so that users can take virtual tours and use Windows apps in virtual reality.

Early builds of the update will be coming to those enrolled in the Windows Insiders program this week.

The company will also be launching a new version of its classic Paint software called Paint 3D. With the upcoming software, users will be able to add three dimensional objects into Paint projects and manipulate them in 3D. Microsoft demonstrated a new photo capture tool for smartphones that lets owners shoot photographs in 3D as well, which can be edited and added to projects in Paint. It was shown on an HP Windows Phone, but Microsoft says it envisions the experience happening on any device.

Microsoft’s suite of Office tools is being revamped for 3D as well, making it possible to add three dimensional images to PowerPoint slides. In one demonstration, a Microsoft employee rotated a 3D photo of a fig tree to display it at various angles. The updated version of PowerPoint makes presentations look more like a short videos than slide shows, as the new PowerPoint supports animations and allows users to zoom in on certain parts of a 3D image.

Windows 10 is getting new features aimed at gamers as well. The Creators Update will bring the ability to broadcast games from Windows 10 machines via a service called Beam, which Microsoft acquired earlier this year and is now building directly into its operating system. Players will also be able to create custom tournaments through the Xbox app on Windows 10, so that friends can play against one another in a more competitive setting.

Microsoft says the Creators Update will also make it easier to share their creations with other users. Windows 10 users will be able to drag and drop content from anywhere on the computer to a designated contact pinned to the task bar. Users will be able to jump between services like email and Skype when tapping or clicking these contacts so they can choose how they’d like to reach them.

All told, the Creators Update appears to be an effort to bring some of the use cases Microsoft has previously shown on its HoloLens mixed reality headset to every Windows PC.

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