Microsoft isn’t just merging Windows RT with Windows Phone, but also bringing the Windows you know closer to Windows Phone too and we’ll see this unification with Windows Threshold. Since the leaked Technical Preview version of Windows 9 surfaced on the internet, we have an early access to what the company has been working for the past year.
The screenshots and videos revealed features that we already knew were coming like the new Start menu and windowed modern apps running like they belong in the desktop, which the company showed off early this year. And other features were just rumors, but now we know are coming, such as virtual desktops, the drop of the Charms bar, and more.
However we’re also starting to see even more features in Windows 9 (Threshold) that suggest Microsoft is really focus on merging all experiences across platforms into “one Windows”. For example, in the leaked version of Windows Threshold, we can clearly notice Storage Sense, Wi-Fi Sense, Cortana, and the new Notification Center, and all these three features are part of the Windows Phone 8.1 update.
In short Storage Sense is a feature that allows users to manage local storage, in Windows 9 the feature shows that users can choose which drive is use to save certain type of data.
Notification Center, perhaps one of the most anticipated features coming to Windows 9 (after the Start menu of course). Like in Windows Phone 8.1, the notification center in Windows 9 brings all the system and apps notifications to one central place. The feature can be accessed by clicking an icon from the taskbar, and notifications are grouped by apps with timestamps. However, unlike in Windows Phone, the exciting Windows 9 notification’s feature doesn’t include shortcuts to connect to wireless networks, Bluetooth, Airplane mode, and other options, including access to PC settings.
Finally, we have Cortana, the Microsoft’s digital assistant that debuted with the release of Windows Phone 8.1. Even though, Cortana isn’t a feature working in Windows Technical Preview, evidence has been found in the recent leak. And past rumors indicated that Microsoft is testing Cortana in private testing builds for the next version of Windows and it currently integrates to the operating system as an app.
Besides these features Microsoft is also gradually introducing universal apps that work across PC, phone, and Xbox. It’s all part of Microsoft vision of “one Windows”, where the same operating system runs across all platforms and where developers can finally code once and deploy everywhere. Also having the same features and apps across platforms takes away some of the learning curve from users.
And I can only assume this is just the beginning as we get closer to the final release, we’ll probability see more Windows Phone features coming to Windows 9.
Microsoft plans to release a Technical Preview of Windows 9 on September 30, during press event in San Francisco. While a single version of Windows for phone and tablet is expected to be introduced as part of Threshold wave of updates in early 2015. This merged version of the operating system will drop the desktop entirely, leaving users with only the Metro interface and Windows Store apps.