Windows operating systems have been hit-or-miss since the revolutionary Windows 95, but Microsoft hopes to get themselves back into the game with the new Windows 9 rumored to release next April.
Windows 8 wasn't exactly the breakthrough that Microsoft had hoped, as its focus on a unified OS across tablets and PCs didn't quite work out as smoothly as planned. But was it just too soon for that cross-platform focus? Window 9 (codenamed Threshold) is said to feature an updated version of that compatibility by introducing a three-pronged initiative to determine input priority between mouse, touch, or voice. Mouse-first input will be used with the traditional desktop/laptop configuration, touch-first will be for smartphones and tablets, and voice-first will be for large-screen devices like those that an Xbox One would plug into. It seems that Microsoft is embracing the new variety we have available to us as input devices and moving further away from the traditional desktop PC experience.
But a fourth input may also be coming to the OS as gesture controls are gaining popularity. The Xbox's Kinect has shown the company that gesture recognition is a viable control platform, although it certainly needs more precision work before it's ready for prime time.
Power management is also said to improve with Windows 9 as a more energy-conscious consumer base looks to ways to save money and the planet. Bruce Worthington, team lead on Windows' power management fundamentals, gives some rather technical details on how and why we need to see better power management in the next version of the software. "For the next release there's all kinds of things we've already identified that are going be quite challenging but at the same time the user is going to get a tremendous boost forward," Worthington stated.
As for that ever-important release date, it's still completely up in the air. Microsoft blogger Paul Thurrott is the one saying that he expects the software to release in April of 2015, which would be less than three years after Windows 8's launch. But still others predict that Windows 9 could come as early as late 2014.
Why so early? Experts speculate that Microsoft is simply trying to get Windows 8's bad name overwritten from our minds by releasing a whole new name instead of another decimal patch of Windows 8. Regardless of when or if Windows 9 does come out, you can probably expect to see at least one more patch to Windows 8, not including the leaked Update 1 that caused a bit of embarrassment for the company.