The next version of Windows, codenamed “Threshold”, also known as “Windows 9”, as we previously knew is arriving in Spring 2015. However a new report from ZDNet details that a possible Windows 9 preview will be released before the end of 2014, by fall timeframe.
In Windows 8.1 Update, Microsoft focused attention on making Windows more useful depending the hardware (desktop, laptop, and tablet) and included even more features for those customers using the mouse and keyboard. With the next version of the operating system, which it might be called “Windows 9”, Microsoft will continue with the efforts to undo the damage done in the OS and it try to win over Windows 7 users as well.
According to ZDNet sources with Threshold, the operating system will work and look very different depending on the hardware type. For example, for desktop and laptop users, the version of Windows will put more emphasis on traditional desktop applications, while in hybrid PCs and tablets such as Surface Pro, the focus will be the modern user-interface with the ability two switch to the desktop mode.
Microsoft will also include the new Mini Start Menu. The company previously demoed a concept back in April during the Build conference. But the final version will ship with more refinements and it will be very configurable — users will be able to pin desktop apps and Windows Store apps, turn on/off Live Tiles, and it’s also likely that desktop users will get the new Mini Start Menu by default with the option to enable the Start screen for those who prefer this experience.
With Windows Threshold there will be only a single version of the operating system for phones and tablets, which won’t feature the Desktop environment. But users will still be able to snap apps and work on more than one task at a time. According to the report, “Threshold Mobile” version will work on Windows Phones using ARM chips, and on Windows tablets based on ARM and Intel Atom processors.
Perhaps the more newsworthy information is that it appears that “Windows 9” will be a free update for current Windows 8, Windows 8.1 Update, and possibly Windows 7 Service Pack 1 users. This is a huge news as Microsoft has never offered a free upgrade for a new version of the operating system. But of course is an effort to get those Windows 7 PCs moved to a more modern OS.
Windows 8.1 Update 2 in the horizon as well
Finally, before Windows 9 gets out, Microsoft is also planning to release one last update for Windows 8.1. The new update isn’t expected to include many features and changes, as Microsoft is gearing up to bring substantial changes with the next version. However there could be some tweaks in the users-interface and system improvements. Windows 8.1 Update 2 is expected to release on August 12th, 2014, during this month Patch Tuesday.