With Windows 8, Microsoft tried - not entirely successfully - to make tablets part of a continuum that goes from number-crunching workstations and high-end gaming rigs through all-in-one touchscreen media systems and thin-and light notebooks down to slender touch tablets, all with the same OS, aiming for the best of both of today's computing worlds. What will it do for the next version of Windows?
Lahore, Punjab -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/07/2013 -- Despite rumours of an aggressive development and shipping schedule, there's no official word about what's in the next version of Windows, but there are plenty of rumours (many of them from Chinese enthusiast sites that claim to have leaked builds), plus more reliable information from job adverts for the Windows and Windows Phone teams.
There are also patents, which may or may not be relevant, and some rare comments from developers on the Windows team. Here's what we've heard about Windows 9 and what we think is happening.
Windows more often: Windows 9 and Windows Blue
Job adverts for Windows and Windows Phone and LinkedIn profiles for developers on the Windows Server team all refer to "Windows Blue" in relation to a future version of Windows, Windows Server and Windows Phone.
That's only a codename and it's a codename not for the specific versions of these operating systems but for the new development cadence, where Microsoft puts out new releases of Windows, Windows RT and Windows Server every year, the way it already does for Windows Phone.
The next version of Windows is being referred to by Microsoft people who post their details on LinkedIn as Windows 9; as usual, that will be a codename that might change.
Screenshots claiming to show a leaked build show the kernel number as Windows 6.3; that just means that Microsoft is still being careful not to break applications that look for the Windows version number.
That's why Windows 7 was version 6.1 internally and Windows 8 is version 6.2; it doesn't mean this is 'only a service pack'. (What would normally have been Windows 8 SP1 was released through Windows Update before Windows 8 shipped in October 2012.
Windows 9 release date
Microsoft communications chief Frank Shaw said Microsoft wasn't ready to talk about how often Windows might come out when we spoke to him in January, but he agreed "you have certainly seen across a variety of our products a cadence that looks like that; Windows Phone is a good for example of that, our services are a good example of that".
The rumours say Windows 9 will be finished in July or August 2013; that's a year after the RTM (release to manufacturing) of Windows 8. We don't know if it will be available to users straight away through Windows Update or if PC makers will get time to test and integrate updates for their systems (the RTM version could go on MSDN (Microsoft's Developer Network Platforms site) in July, giving hardware partners a month to test before release in August).
We also don't know if Windows 9 will be available as an upgrade from Windows 7 that you can buy as a standalone product or if you'll have to have Windows 8 to get the upgrade (which would explain new Windows business chief Tami Reller talking about "multiple selling seasons" for Windows 8, as well as rumours that Windows 9 will be either a free upgrade or part of an upgrade service you can subscribe to).
Microsoft seems to be on track; rumours say the first milestone, M1, was finished in mid February, putting the team halfway through the development cycle, with milestone 2, which may be released publicly as the Milestone Preview in a few months (perhaps May or June, to incorporate bug fixes in a July or August release).
Windows 9 features
To be competitive with iOS Windows RT has to get annual updates and it would make no sense not to release those updates to the WinRT runtime for Windows 8 as well, but the job ads say there's more to the next version of Windows than that with improvements to "the start screen; application lifecycle; windowing; and personalization… enhancing ease of use and the overall user experience".
Screenshots claimed to come from leaked builds show a new version of Internet Explorer, IE 11 (which isn't surprising - and might explain why IE 10 for Windows 7 has taken so long, if the IE team has been concentrating on this).
Other rumours say the Search charm will show results from multiple apps automatically, instead of waiting until you click another app in the list to see is search results. This would be more like the universal search in Windows 7 which showed results from Explorer, Outlook and other search providers in the same list of results.
Sourice: Good Tech Systems
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