Microsoft has confirmed it will release its highly-anticipated Windows 10 update this summer of 2015 but hasn't given an exact release date.
The company also revealed that it would be working with up-and-coming Chinese company Xiaomi to test Windows 10 on its hugely popular smartphones, in a move which could have a huge benefit for Microsoft.
Microsoft has previously indicated that Windows 10 would come later in the year with most expecting an autumn launch, but it appears as if the Redmond-based company is ahead of schedule in development of the radical redesign of the software which will run on devices including smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, Xbox consoles, servers and even Internet of Things products.
"We continue to make great development progress and shared today that Windows 10 will be available this summer in 190 countries and 111 languages," Microsoft's Terry Myerson said at the Windows Hardware Engineering Community (WinHEC) summit held in Shenzen, China.
Microsoft will be making Windows 10 available as a free upgrade for all Windows 7 and Windows 8 users for one year, with that upgrade cycle now set to begin this summer.
Myerson also announced the partnership with Xiaomi, the Chinese internet company which is the biggest smartphone manufacturer in China thanks to its hugely popular Android-based Mi smartphones.
The partnership which will see it begin testing Windows 10 on the startup's popular Mi smartphones by inviting a select group of it Mi 4 users to install the Technical Preview of Windows 10 on their devices and "help test Windows 10 and contribute to its future release later this year."
While details are still vague as to just how the system will work, it looks like feedback provided by Xiaomi's very active community of users will be evaluated by Microsoft and some suggestions may incorporated in the final release of Windows 10 for phones.
Xiaomi told TechCrunch that this is "an experimental program entirely led by Microsoft."
Microsoft is clearly targeting China as an important market for its next operating system, and has announced partnerships with Lenovo, Tencent and Qihu 360 in a bid to tackle the big propblem of piracy in the country as well as getting the millions of Chinese users still using legacy software like Windows XP to upgrade.
Windows 10 is a major overhaul of the company's Windows 8 operating system which is widely seen as a misstep by the company. As well as getting a visual overhaul with a new Start Menu and specific tablet and desktop modes, Microsoft's is also introducing the brand new Spartan browser to replace Internet Explorer and will incorporate it personal digital assistant Cortana deeply into the OS.
Windows 10 will also let users install vital system updates via the peer-to-peer (P2P) framework, and the new OS once installed will use less space and free up as much as 2.6 GB of system memory using customised compression techniques.