by Anton Shilov
12/10/2013 | 11:00 PM
The first details regarding Microsoft Corp.’s next major refresh of its operating systems have begun to emerge. The new Windows OSes code-named “Threshold” are supposed to bring different systems closer together from a user experience perspective, but at the same time re-introduce certain functions that will bring back practices known to the most users of traditional Windows operating systems.
The code-named Threshold is a set of operating systems for personal computers/2-in-1s (a "modern" consumer version, a traditional/PC version, and a traditional enterprise type), smartphones/tablets as well as Xbox One designed to advance them in a way to share even more common elements and to bring different systems closer together from a user experience perspective. But instead of plainly creating unified user interface for all types of devices, Microsoft wants to also appeal to traditional Windows users in order not to lose them to competing eco-systems, according to ZDNet (2) and WinSuperSite.
In particular, “traditional” Windows “Threshold” operating system version will feature proper Start menu (not just a button) as well as will let users optionally run Metro apps in floating windows on the desktop. The version of Windows will also sport a number of improvements when it comes to controls using keyboard and mouse.
The “modern” Windows “Threshold” flavour is projected to be oriented mostly on touch-screen devices, which suggests tailored user interface, optimizations to run apps with Metro interface as well as lack of compatibility with traditional Win 32 programs in certain cases (i.e., systems based on ARM microprocessors). It is more than likely that Windows Phone and Windows RT will finally merge at this point.
In addition, there will be a version of Windows “Threshold” designed for traditional enterprise users, who need backwards compatibility, support for group policy, device management, solid security and other things. This type of Windows “Threshold” will support PCs, tablets and other devices.
Finally, there will be Threshold update for Microsoft Xbox One, which is projected to bring the video game console closer to other platforms that Microsoft has to offer.
While the general ideas behind Windows “Threshold” seems to be clear, it is uncertain whether Microsoft will market the updated operating systems under Windows 8-series moniker, or will introduce Windows 9-series. At present it is projected that Windows “Threshold” will begin to roll out in early 2015. However, it should be noted that Microsoft has never [at least, in the recent history] rolled-out major updates during spring refresh (SR) cycle, but tended to introduce new versions during back-to-school (BTS) and holiday refresh (HR) cycles.
Microsoft did not comment on the news-story.