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Windows 10 Ready For July, Office 2016 Updates: Microsoft Roundup

Microsoft is busy readying Windows 10 for its July 29 launch, but it made time to push a few updates to the Office 2016 preview.
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Microsoft wasted no time in announcing its biggest news of the week before most of us got to our desks on Monday morning. Its long-awaited Windows 10 operating system will start rolling out to eligible PCs and tablets on July 29. No word yet on mobile OS availability.

Before you mark your calendars, be sure to reserve your upgrade via the Get Windows 10 app. You can still upgrade if you don't reserve, but you'll have to wait a bit longer. Microsoft will begin notifying devices of their upgrade availability the day of the launch.

"Some notifications will go out as soon as Windows 10 is available; others may go out in the weeks or months following," officials wrote on a Windows 10 FAQ page.

Continuing the momentum of its launch news, Microsoft announced pricing for the two versions of Windows 10 -- Home and Pro -- that will hit the market in July. For those who aren't eligible for the free upgrade or miss the one-year window, the Home edition will cost $119 and the Pro will run for $199.

[Windows 10: 5 Key Features For Business]

Following these announcements, Microsoft showcased a range of upcoming laptops, tablets and PCs during a keynote at Computex 2015 in Taipei. All devices are specifically designed to run Windows 10 and are optimized for the various features it will deliver.

Leading device manufacturers like Asus, Acer, HP, Dell, and Toshiba are building products to accommodate Windows 10. New products will include laptops with biometric technology to enable Windows Hello, portable computers that transform TVs into Windows 10 computers, and 2-in-1 devices that lend themselves to Continuum.

When Microsoft wasn't talking about Windows 10, it was shopping. This week Redmond confirmed its acquisition of 6Wunderkinder GmbH, the Berlin-based startup firm behind to-do list app Wunderlist. The transaction was reportedly valued at $100 to $200 million.

If you have your eye on the startup scene, you may have seen this coming. Wunderlist recently announced its integration with calendar app Sunrise, which Microsoft also acquired earlier this year. The two combined to bring users' to-do lists into their calendars for a more comprehensive productivity app.

While officials haven't yet released the details of their plans for Wunderlist technology, a statement claimed that Microsoft will "build on and apply Wunderlist's innovations to Microsoft's apps and services." I think it's safe to predict that we'll see an improved productivity app hit the market over the next few months.

The one million testers running the Office 2016 preview on Windows and Mac platforms got some good news later in the week. Microsoft is released a few new features for the preview, including improved grammar checkers and Power Pivot improvements. Testers can also expect to see these highlights:

  • Insights for Office: Insights is powered by Bing and integrates contextual Web-based information into the reading experience. You can test it by selecting certain keywords (people, places, etc.) in your content. Insights will pull relevant information into the Task pane.
  • Real-time Word presence: This is the first step towards Real Time Typing, which will roll out in future Office builds. Real Time Presence lets you see where fellow collaborators are editing a document. This will first be released to OneDrive for Business subscribers, but other Office testers can expect broader availability soon.
  • Easier file sharing: The process of sharing files -- and letting others review, edit, and comment on them -- is now easier. A "Share" button on the Ribbon saves the file to the cloud and makes it available to others.
  • Version History improvements: Clicking the "History" command under the File menu lets you view or restore different versions of files stored in OneDrive for Business or Sharepoint.