Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Here's What to Expect from Microsoft's 'Windows 9' Announcement Tuesday

Rumors abound – just don't expect an Apple-esque Internet takeover.  

Microsoft's 'Windows 9'
Image via Creative Commons/Robert Scoble/CC-BY
No one’s camping outside of Microsoft stores. Your techie friends probably aren’t going crazy. And there’s very little official hype –there's nothing on Windows' official twitter account, either. But it’s happening. What Windows users everywhere have been waiting for, even if they don’t know it. On September 30, at an invitation-only event, Microsoft will be introducing their new O.S. – codenamed “Threshold”, but being called Windows 9 by many technology bloggers. Here’s what you can expect tomorrow.

The Event

During the Windows 9 announcement event in San Francisco tomorrow, Microsoft executives will reveal “what’s next for Windows and the enterprise.”
In a strategy that couldn’t be much futher from Apple’s live-streamed announcement earlier this month, Windows has reportedly sent out invitations to about 50 journalists and analysts. Judging from past announcements, videos may be posted on Microsoft’s website after the event.

Windows 8

Since its release in 2012, Windows 8 has failed to take hold for Microsoft users. According to Net Applications, a firm that keeps track of all web traffic generated by various operating systems, only 6.29 percent of PCs have Windows 8, while 6.35 percent have Windows 8.1. In comparison, Windows 7 is used by 50.06 percent of users and Windows XP is used by 25.27 percent.
This is rumored to be the last time Windows plans to have a major release of a new O.S.  From this point forward, Windows plans to provide regular monthly updates, rather than releasing new software annually.

Windows 9?

The head of Microsoft France, Alan Crozier, recently referred to the new software as Windows 9 in a live-stream, but Microsoft maintains that it still hasn’t officially been named. Referred to as “Threshold” within the company, it’s also speculated to be christened Windows One, Windows 365, or just plain Windows.

Changes

The most significant visible update to the Microsoft 9 system will be the return of the start button and menu, which was replaced by a tiled start screen in Windows 8. The new button is a mixture of the classic Windows start menu and the tiles introduced in Windows 8.

Here's a leaked video of the menu's new look:


What’s more, the Charms sidebar, a menu accessed whenever a user swiped their mouse to the right side of the screen, has been eliminated from devices not accessible by touch.

Updates to the Metro UI design, file hosting service OneDrive, Windows Defender, and Windows Activation are also rumored. And Metro-style apps may begin to be available on desktops.

In an improvement that could excite businesspeople and I.T. technicians, another rumor speculates that the new O.S. will support virtual desktops, allowing a user to run multiple desktops at once from a single computer.

And of course, there’s always the possibility that Cortana, Microsoft’s version of Siri, could be made available on computers.

And It’s Free

Windows has confirmed that Windows 9 will be made available – for free – to all Windows 8 users. Perhaps it’s an apology for what they had to go through?

Wrapping Up

Even though they’re making the announcement tomorrow, the actual Windows 9 software most likely won’t be available until April 2015. However, rumor is that a public preview showcasing the new look will be made available to the public soon after the announcement.

So, don't expect the utter Internet take-over we say with Apple's recent announcement, but some noteworthy things coming from Microsoft nonetheless.

Sandeep Sharma

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