In addition to announcing the release date for its next big Windows 10 update -- April 11 -- Microsoft today unveiled several new partner-manufactured devices designed to support the new operating system's novel features.
Among the new tools arriving with the Windows 10 Creators Update is Paint 3D, which represents a major change for Microsoft's long-used Paint tool. The update will let users convert two-dimensional drawings into 3D, create 3D images from scratch or share 3D art with others via a built-in online community.
The Creators Update will also bring new security updates, including a Windows Defender Security Center and screen time controls for parents whose kids play Xbox One. And enterprise users of Microsoft's Surface Hub will see a number of top-requested new features for better collaboration, the company said.
New 3D Paint, Mixed-Reality Apps
Available to current Windows 10 users as a free update, the Creators Update will be rolled out "in a measured way to ensure the best possible customer experience," according to Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Windows and Devices Group.
Writing on the company's Windows 10 blog today, Mehdi said the new Paint 3D app is designed to enable the more than 100 million monthly users of the traditional Paint tool to express their creativity in new ways as the 3D image industry continues expanding. He noted the 3D market is predicted to grow by more than 62 percent by 2020.
Beyond introducing 3D drawing, the Creators Update will also support new applications for mixed reality, with several manufacturing partners set to come out with Windows Mixed Reality headsets later this year, Mehdi said. Priced at $299, the headsets "will contain built-in sensors to enable inside-out, six-degrees of freedom, allowing for easy setup and free movement without the need for external markers or sensors in the wall," he said.
Developer editions of the mixed-reality headsets (from Acer), along with development kits, became available to developers earlier this month.
The Creators Update will also introduce a Windows Defender Security Center dashboard designed to make it easier for users to control their security settings and preferences from one location, Mehdi said. Other additions include a new Device Health Advisor and additional settings to control the installation of apps.
Devices Built for Creators Update Coming
Microsoft is also expanding availability of several Surface products introduced last year. Starting April 20, the Surface Book with Performance Base can be purchased in Austria, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K. On the same day, customers in Australia, Canada and New Zealand will also be able to buy the Surface Studio and Surface Dial accessory.
In coming months, new devices from other manufacturing partners that support the Creators Update will also hit the market, according to Peter Han, Microsoft's vice president for worldwide OEM marketing.
Among the new devices coming out are the Dell Canvas, a 27-inch "smart workspace" enabling design by touch, digital pen, dial or other accessories; the 13-inch Acer Spin 7 convertible with touchscreen display; and the HP EliteBook x360, which is optimized for Microsoft's Windows Ink digital markup application. Other manufacturing partners planning to launch devices to work with Microsoft's latest release include Lenovo, with the coming Yoga Book 2-in-1, and Toshiba, which is getting ready to launch the Portege X20W.
Writing in a separate Windows blog post today, Han said the Creators Update will expand the capabilities for Windows Ink, making it possible to digitally draw or write on maps, photos and videos, as well as on Web pages through the Microsoft Edge Web browser.