Microsoft is expected to release its first Windows ‘Threshold’ preview by the end of September or beginning of October, and according to an earlier report from Mary Jo Foley from ZDNet, it’ll be labeled as “technical preview” and not “developer preview” like the company released with Windows 8.
One of the reasons is because the tech preview isn’t a developer preview, rather it’s an enterprise preview, where Microsoft is planning to showcase some of the new features focus on business, because Windows 8 was more focus on consumers and it looked like the software maker forgot a bit about business users. (Though, everyone interested will be able to download and install the preview.)
The main idea for a technical preview is to show businesses that Microsoft didn’t forget about them, and it’s a way for the company to say: This is what’s going on in the next version of Windows that we think you’re going to like.
One of the big things in this technical preview of Windows Threshold is that it will have a new user agreement to make mandatory updates that will follow up the release.
And here we can also see where Microsoft is going with servicing and patching the operating system to make it more functional, because currently it is not. Having users updated to the latest bits will ensure that everyone is running the latest version and they are in the same patching schedule.
However this could be a big problem. This new approach of Microsoft doing rapid releases is not the same as cloud services rapid releases, where software are updated in the backend (cloud). Here we have an operating system that is installed in millions of PCs around the world. This is no joke and problems may arise. (Just take a look at what happened with the latest Windows 8.1 August update that Microsoft had to advice users to uninstall because of BSOD and other problems caused by the update.)
But Microsoft is testing the waters. By having users to agree to new updates is a way for the company to test if the new way of rapid releases and everything else works before launching Windows 9.
The other challenge regarding updates is that users like to update on different times. For example, consumers want update as soon as they become available, but with businesses is a totally different story. Updates on businesses are carefully planned and roll out (and sometimes they just take too long to deploy), as such Microsoft has to plan carefully, perhaps by allowing enterprises to delay updates, or allow everyone delay updates, like Office 365 does — we still don’t know.
Among the features, we all are expecting to see with Threshold: Start menu, windowed modern apps floating in the Desktop, the drop of the Charms bar, virtual desktops, Cortana’s digital assistant integration with Windows 9, new flat desktop design that makes the Metro UI language, and more, but not all at once.
Now what’s more likely to happen is that we’ll see a version of Windows Threshold for PCs, but don’t get your hopes up on Microsoft introducing a merged version of Windows Phone and Windows RT. However officially there is no word of what this “technical preview” is going to be.
The other big question mark is if the software giant will also release a Gemini preview of Office with Threshold tech preview. However these are to different products that aren’t tight together. There is a chance of a Gemini preview later this year, but it’s unclear if it will be introduced with the tech preview, which will release at the end of September.
Update: New information confirms that Microsoft is planning to deliver the first preview of Windows 9 on September 30th, 2014, during a spacial press event.