Love it or hate it, Windows 8 was Microsoft first big attempt to design an operating system that runs equally well on desktop PCs and tablets. A lot of folks aren’t fans… and there are rumors that while the next major release of Windows will still support touch-friendly “Modern” style apps, it’ll also be a bit more comfortable for long-time Windows users thanks to the return of a classic Start Menu, among other things.
According to WinSuperSite the next version of Windows will be code-named Threshold, officially called Windows 9, unveiled at the BUILD developer conference in April and launched to the public a year later, in April 2015.
That’s more than a year away, and there’s still time for Microsoft to change the branding or other details.
At this point, it looks like we’ll have to wait a while to see what the new OS actually looks like or get our hands on a developer preview (although if history tells us anything, it’s that leaked builds of the operating system will probably hit the streets before official builds). But WinSuperSite reports that among other things users may be able to run Modern-style apps downloaded from the Windows Store in resizeable desktop-style windows.
In other words, when you’re using a tablet, you can use the tablet user interface with a Start Screen and full-screen apps that Microsoft introduced with Windows 8. Have a desktop or notebook? Feel free to use something closer to the desktop UI Windows users have been familiar with since the 90s.
There’s no news about the future of Windows RT at this point. When Microsoft announced plans to port its desktop operating system to run on low-power ARM-based chips a few years ago, the move made a lot of sense. Tablets and other mobile devices were on the rise. ARM was kicking Intel and AMD’s rear ends in power consumption, enabling devices to have crazy-long battery life. And Microsoft wanted Windows to be able to run on those devices.
By the time Windows RT hit the streets though, one of the best features was missing: the ability to run the thousands of Windows apps that were already available for Windows on x86 processors. With only the ability to run third party apps downloaded from the brand new Windows Store, Windows RT felt a bit like any new platform at launch… not particularly useful unless you just wanted to stick to the built-in apps.
What’s more, in the meantime Intel did a great job of reducing power consumption of both its Atom and Core family processors so that it’s not uncommon to find a Windows tablet or notebook that can run for 10 hours or longer on a charge.
All told, if Windows 9 is an admission that Microsoft might have made some mistakes with Windows 8, I wonder if the company even has a strategy in mind for the future of Windows on ARM.