The next wave of Windows is set to arrive spring 2015, and will bring a unified operating system across platforms like mobile, desktop, and Xbox One.
The next version of Windows is codenamed “Threshold” and will seek to provide a seamless experience across all major platforms from desktop to Xbox, according to information obtained by ZDNet.
Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President of Operating Systems at Microsoft is said to have mentioned the Threshold codename in an internal memo that was sent out detailing plans for a unified operating system.
Microsoft has been working on integrating common elements across platforms for a while now, and the results of that can be seen if one looks at the desktop version of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. Microsoft took the live tiles feature from Windows Phone and brought it to the desktop with Windows 8. Similarly with Windows Phone 8, Microsoft included the Windows NT core into the mobile OS. This enabled the mobile OS to run the same shared file system in the form of NTFS, DirectX engine, networking stack, security elements and a hardware abstraction layer as the full-fledged version of Windows.
The Xbox One game console also runs Windows as one of its OS (it comes with three in total). With Threshold, Microsoft wants all devices on Windows platforms to have the same set of “high value activities” that include expression and documents, decision-making and task completion; IT management; and “serious fun.”
Also on the agenda is the unification of the app stores into a single offering, and making integration of core services seamless across platforms. The Xbox One does this to a large extent, as it comes with many elements that are featured on the full-fledged version of Windows. For instance, users can multitask by dragging two different windows to either sides of the screen, a move desktop users are very familiar with.
Microsoft hasn’t seen a lot of success with Windows 8, and the Windows Phone 8 platform is just beginning to gain some traction, although it is miles behind Android when it comes to market share. With Windows 8, Microsoft made it easier to use the OS on a host of touchscreen enabled devices, but the OS did not do well with the desktop crowd. The latest numbers indicate that Windows 8 has a market share of just 6.66 percent, with Windows 7 still leading the way at 46.64 percent.
Steve Ballmer outlined his “One Microsoft” mission back in July, which saw a major reorganization of Microsoft’s business units to make the organization focus more on devices and services. This move brought all the operating systems divisions together for the first time, and enabled them to collaborate and work on new ideas together.
Threshold is the first major release that has been created with the intention of unifying services, design ethos and the functionality that is offered by Windows across a smorgasbord of devices that include the likes of tablets, smartphones, desktops, notebooks and gaming consoles. Until that time, however, we still have to deal with Windows 8.1 with the redesigned Start button.