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Microsoft's Windows 10 Event: What You Need to Know

In case you haven't heard, Microsoft just had one of its most exciting press events of all time. The software giant showed off more new features of its upcoming Windows 10 operating system, and unveiled the Surface Hub, an 84-inch touch PC, and the revolutionary HoloLens holographic headset. Here's everything important from the Microsoft event today (Jan. 21).

Microsoft HoloLens is a Holographic Headset

The most exciting news out of the event involves Microsoft's HoloLens, which projects virtual objects onto your real-world field of view. This wearable holographic computer packs something Microsoft calls a Holographic Processing Unit (HPU), and can work independently of a phone or PC. The headset can be used to project a Skype call onto your wall, let you see Windows apps on your kitchen cabinet, and even phyisically manipulate a Minecraft world laid out on your table.

MORE: HoloLens Hands-on: Microsoft Leapfrogs Apple in Innovation

Windows 10 Will Be Free Upgrade for One Year

If you're a Windows 7 or 8 user, you'll be able to upgrade to the next-generation OS for free. That is, if you do so within a year of its launch. This also applies to Windows Phone 8.1 devices.

MORE: The Most Exciting New Features of Windows 10

Windows 10 brings Cortana to Desktop

With a voice-controlled digital assistant for your PCs, being lazy just got easier. Windows 10 will put Cortana right on your desktop so you can find files, send emails, launch presentations and search the web without lifting a finger. During our hands-on, we found the system needed some fine-tuning to better recognize our commands, but overall it worked well. 

MORE: Windows 10 Cortana Hands-on: Voice Commands, Fresh UI

Top Features of Windows 10 for Phones

Not only is its clean new interface easier on the eyes, but Windows 10 for Phones also packs a ton of useful new features. A floating keyboard and improved dictation make typing easier, while a new messaging app collects all your communications, whether they're SMS or Skype messages. Universal apps also make the cross-device experience more coherent.

MORE: Windows 10 for Phones: Top Features

Office Apps for Windows 10 Get Touch Support

The Microsoft programs that we know and love -- Word, Excel and PowerPoint -- are getting a refresh. With Windows 10, Office apps will be optimized for touch screens for easier navigation. For example, swiping left and right on your messages in Outlook will delete or flag them.

MORE: Microsoft Demos Office Apps for Windows 10

Microsoft Surface Hub Looks to Transform Meetings

In the (literally) biggest news of the event, Microsoft unveiled its Surface Hub device -- an 84-inch all-in-one with a 4K display. Designed for group collaboration, the Surface Hub acts like an interactive whiteboard - letting two people write on it at once. With Skype for Business, you can also easily host and join meetings, and share notes automatically with attendees after.

MORE: Microsoft Surface Hub Hands-on

A More Powerful Windows

Microsoft also showed off a new browser, codenamed Project Spartan, to replace Internet Explorer, which packs built-in commenting and Cortana integration. The company also introduced a Photos app that will collate your pictures from all your devices for easier organizing. The app will allow for automatic enhancement of your images, and can create pretty albums to help you share your pics. And with the Xbox app for Windows 10, you'll finally be able to stream Xbox games to your Windows 10 PC or tablet, and play against your friends regardless of platform.

Staff writer Cherlynn Low can't wait to install Windows 10 on her PC. Follow her @cherlynnlow. Follow Tom's Guide at @tomsguide on Facebook.