We’re still in the early days, but new information is starting to emerge about the next version of Windows, which thus far we know it as “Threshold” (Windows 8.2). According to Paul Thurrott, long time Microsoft watcher, the software giant is planning to bring back the Start menu as an additional option. The news follows the return of the Start menu in Windows 8.1, though, it’s still unclear if the Start menu will be available in the versions of Threshold, as Paul noted that Microsoft may opt to only bring back the Start menu to the operating system that supports traditional desktop applications.
Also another big change is coming, apparently Windows Threshold will allow users to run Metro-style apps in the desktop environment — very similar to what you can do today using the ModernMix utility –. Currently you can only run Windows 8 apps alongside the desktop using the Snap view feature, but with Threshold, Windows 8 apps will just behave like traditional apps in the desktop.
Furthermore, Mary Jo Foley from ZDNet, brought to the surface even more information about Microsoft plans with “Threshold”. According to Foley, the company is also looking to unify the version of Windows for consumers, which will include a versions of Windows that is centered around consumers, much like Windows RT today — an operating system that will run on ARM and Intel devices, optimized to run Windows 8-style apps, more lock-down for security, and updated frequently through the Windows Store.
This modern SKU (or version) may also include a limited “desktop” environment, but basically this will be the version of Windows for phones, tablets, the so called “phablets”, and other type of devices. Some PCs may even run this SKU to help Microsoft to compete with the Google’s Chromebook.
The second Windows SKU includes a more traditional OS, designed to run Windows 8 modern apps and with full support for desktop applications, such as iTunes, Photoshop, Google Chrome, and millions more, much like we have today. This version will also be updated frequently and more likely from the Windows Store.
Finally, there will also be an enterprise version of Windows that will continue to incorporate all the features business expect, such as Active Directory and policy management features. However, this SKU isn’t designed to be updated as regular as the other two mentioned above.
Microsoft Windows 8.2 is expected to debut sometime during spring 2015. Although the news revealed today only includes changes for Windows 8.1, a lot more is yet to come as “Threshold” is a wave of updates not only for Windows, but Windows Phone and the Xbox One operating system, which will bring all platforms closer together. So, stay tune because we’re just getting started and more changes are coming.