Windows is getting a new build nicknamed "Blue". It adds a lot of functionality to the ModernUI, making the touch-based interface easier to use for more purposes… but does it mean the beginning of the end for desktop mode?
Windows 8's new build, nicknamed Blue, is adding a lot of features to the touch-oriented Modern UI; features which previously required the use of Windows' desktop mode. These features include the ability to modify control panel settings and a new multitasking feature, allowing windows to be viewed side by side. In the works is also a rumored file manager.
On the surface, Blue seems to streamline the Windows experience and allow users of Modern UI to easier manage more of their operating system without having to dart back and forth to the desktop mode. If this is all it's doing, then there's no problem. However, many industry insiders are predicting that this is the beginning of the end for the desktop mode.
The desktop mode – an endangered creature?
Extreme tech puts it bluntly: "If you had any lingering doubts about whether Microsoft was trying to kill off the Desktop, here's confirmation." Information Week had a similar theory, explaining it in a bit more detail: "The changes can certainly be justified in the name of convenience but they will also wean users off the more familiar Explorer environment by encouraging them to conduct more of their business in the tablet UI."
Whether this is simply an expanded feature set, or the end of desktop mode, is something only time will tell. Microsoft isn't saying anything at the moment. The BUILD conference, which takes place in June, was also announced during Blue's reveal, so it's possible we'll know more then: Microsoft is expected to talk about what's new and what's in the future for the company, and is expected to release the public preview of Windows 8.1 at the conference.