Microsoft is currently dealing with slow adoption of its Windows 8/8.1 operating system and is having a slightly harder time encouraging users to upgrade to the new hotness rather than the old and busted Windows 7 (which many users actually prefer). To that end, they’ve chosen to begin planning the next Windows OS successor and it even has a codename now – “Threshold.”
Threshold will be discussed in more detail at the //Build conference held by Microsoft in April 2014, but some details about what’s being planned have already been leaked by Windows OS guru Paul Thurrot. Threshold, Thurrot muses, is probably going to be compromising in a lot of ways in order to get Windows users to remain loyal to the brand and upgrade to newer releases.
Peripheral to the plans for Threshold, Microsoft’s Windows development team will continue work on the current OS, including a service pack of sorts called GDR1. GDR1 will accompany the update to Windows Phone OS, bringing software on that platform closer to where the desktop is now and offering some important bug fixes, legacy interfaces for some software environments that were stripped out of Windows 8.
There might be a few near features here and there, but Microsoft’s main aim at this point is to make Windows 8.1 feature complete in order to begin work on Threshold.
Threshold, writes Paul Thurrot, is what his sources have labeled “the fixer OS.” It could be designed to fix all the issues that consumers have with Windows 8.1 and will be Microsoft’s move to distance itself from the debacle over the past two years with Windows 8. It is Microsoft’s second chance to really challenge Apple and play on the same field as the fruity hardware manufacturer, but they’ll have to be a lot more careful in some areas this time round.
Central to Threshold should be the goal to keep uniting multiple platforms under one brand and one shared foundation, possibly bringing them even closer together. Already its possible to have your data synced across a desktop, laptop, tablet, mobile phone and your Xbox One using a single Microsoft account powered by Skydrive. One thing that should remain from the team that lead development on Windows 8 is that multi-platform integration because it keeps Windows 8/8.1 on par with Apple and their OS X/iOS/iCloud ecosystem, for now.
This is what Thurrot’s sources have revealed about Threshold:
Windows 9. To distance itself from the Windows 8 debacle, Microsoft is currently planning to drop the Windows 8 name and brand this next release as Windows 9. That could change, but that’s the current thinking.
No bits at BUILD. Microsoft will not be providing developers with an early alpha release of “Threshold” at BUILD, and for a good reason: The product won’t even begin development until later that month. Right now, Microsoft is firming up which features it intends to deliver in this release.
Metro 2.0. Maturing and fixing the “Metro” design language used by Windows will be a major focus area of Threshold. It’s not clear what changes are coming, but it’s safe to assume that a windowed mode that works on the desktop [for Modern UI apps] is part of that.
Three milestones. Microsoft expects to deliver three milestone releases of “Threshold” before its final release. It’s unclear what these releases will be called (Beta, Release Candidate, etc.) or which if any will be provided to the public.
April 2015 release. Microsoft is currently targeting April 2015 for the release of Windows 9 “Threshold.”
In many ways this is going to be a complete reset for the Windows division, in the same manner as we saw in the transition from Windows Vista to 7. Vista, to its credit, isn’t all that bad currently, but it’s not as perfectly put together as 7 is. Threshold will aim to fix many of the complaints with 8/8.1, and I look forward to seeing what they come up with.
Do you use Windows 8/8.1? What features do you want kept in and which ones do you want to see gone? Let us know in the comments below and in our forums.