Microsoft planning to make a big push into the pirated Chinese consumer computing market this summer by offering free upgrades to Windows 10 to all Windows users. At the Windows Hardware Engineering Community (WinHEC) summit on Wednesday, Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Windows, Microsoft, announced that Windows 10 will launch in 190 countries and 111 languages around the world this summer. Myerson also announced strategic partnerships and initiatives with global companies across the greater China region, including Lenovo, Tencent and Qihu 360. These partnerships will enable hundreds of millions of Windows customers in China to upgrade to Windows 10.
Windows 10 delivers new capabilities including Windows Hello. Unveiled on stage for the first time via a Lenovo ThinkPad YOGA 15, Windows Hello provides instant access to a person’s device through biometric authentication using their face, iris or fingerprint to unlock their device and their services.
"China is a global epicenter for innovation and the home of hundreds of millions of Windows PCs today," Myerson said. "The Chinese technical community and Chinese customers are vitally important to the future of Windows 10. We’re honored and excited to host WinHEC in Shenzhen and to continue to work with the area’s hardware and software companies to develop groundbreaking devices and consumer experiences that will help shape the future of Windows 10 globally. Via our partnerships, we will make it easy - and free - for hundreds of millions of customers in China to upgrade to Windows 10."
China is one of the top countries in the world for PC adoption, and easy and free upgrades to Windows 10 will be enabled by partnerships with Lenovo, Tencent and Qihu 360.
Lenovo announced it will offer Windows 10 upgrade services at 2,500 service centers and select retail stores in China when the Windows 10 upgrade is available. Lenovo also announced its commitment to build Windows Phones, to be available mid-year 2015 in China via China Mobile.
Microsoft also announced a partnership with Tencent, a social networking and gaming services company in China. Tencent will offer Windows 10 as a free upgrade to Tencent customers on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 in China via an upgrade. Tencent will create one of the first Windows 10 universal apps for its flagship QQ app, which has over 800 million customers throughout China, and bring its most popular PC games to Windows 10 and the new Windows Store.
Qihu 360, an Internet security company in China, announced a partnership with Microsoft to bring Windows 10, for free, to its customers in China through seamless upgrades. Qihu 360 will enable the Windows 10 upgrade for their customers with accelerated download speeds.
Through a new program with Xiaomi, a select group of Xiaomi Mi 4 power users will be invited to help test Windows 10 and contribute to its future release later this year. They will have the opportunity to download the Windows 10 Technical Preview, install it and provide their feedback to Microsoft.
Microsoft was joined by Intel to announce that all OEM systems incorporating the Intel RealSense Technology F200 sensor will fully support Windows Hello, including automatic sign-in to Windows.
Myerson also shared news for Windows 10 and the Internet of Things (IoT). For the first time, a new version of Windows for small-footprint IoT devices will be available for free when Windows 10 launches. Windows 10 will offer versions of Windows for a diverse set of IoT devices, ranging from powerful devices like ATMs and ultrasound machines to resource-constrained devices like gateways. Through key partnerships with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Intel and Qualcomm, Microsoft will provide options for hobbyists, device-builders and students. Microsoft also introduced the Qualcomm DragonBoard 410C to the Windows 10 device family. It is the first Windows 10 developer board with integrated Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS and a smartphone-class Snapdragon 410 chipset.