Microsoft has made it clear that they are interested in giving a Windows-style experience on all platforms.
Windows 8 is at the core of this new idea, and has actually created mixed opinions when it announced support for ARM processors and an aim at tablet computers.
So what does this future convergence of Windows devices mean for users? It seems that Apple has shown Microsoft how successful a closed platform environment that seamlessly works together (IPhone/IPad/Touch/IPod/OSX) can really be.
Microsoft is intent on carrying over ideas from this seamless integration into all devices that operate Windows and Microsoft technology.
Microsoft has talked about Windows 8 on tablets, netbooks, notebooks, and desktops. Rumors have it that Windows Phone 8 will switch to implementing WinRT (the APIs that effectively make up the Metro side of Windows 8).
This rumor doesn’t seem to be much of a stretch since Microsoft has recently talked about all of its devices being part of a single ecosystem. As quoted by Andy Lees, the President of Microsoft’s Windows Division, “We won’t have an ecosystem for PCs, one for phones, and on for tablets- they’ll all come together.”
So now the rumors point that the upcoming Windows Phone Apollo update could be bringing this convergence to the next level.
So we already know Microsoft wants these types of devices to come together, but what about its other ventures? Recently a persistent rumor has surfaced that the next generation Xbox game console will not only use an ARM-based processor but will even use a customized operating system that takes advantage of WinRT and boasts a Metro-like experience.
The idea of switching from PowerPC to ARM doesn’t exactly sound far-fetched. Microsoft is an opportunist company and when they first built the original Xbox they chose to use an Intel Pentium processor. With the Xbox 360 they determined that PowerPC was a better fit for a console. If Microsoft really wants to put Windows everywhere than switching to ARM would actually make a lot of sense and gives this rumor at least a little credence.
With all the rumors surfacing you have to wonder exactly how far Microsoft plans to take this “Windows Everywhere” approach. Imagine finding Metro-like environments on your Zune, desktop, tablet, notebooks, game consoles and even televisions and Blu-Ray players.
At the same time imagine that due to the similarities they can all share a lot of the same great apps and experiences. If this really is Microsoft’s intent than it seems they wish to find ways to stay competitive against both the growth of Apple and Google. With Google TV and Apple TV already around, does Windows TV really seem like that farfetched of a concept?
When you stop to think about it the idea of having multiple platforms with a similar experience is highly appealing. This means less learning curve when getting new Windows-derived devices. On the other side of the argument it will make it much easy for Microsoft to monopolize the market.
Windows 8 is clearly bringing a lot of changes to the scene. Metro will focus on new apps that are heavily influenced on Internet-based technologies and the influence of the cloud will continue to grow. You have to wonder what this means for Windows 9.
Is it possible that by Windows 9 home and multimedia versions will ditch ‘desktop’ mode altogether? If games and advanced programs could be built using Internet-based technologies than it is certainly possible. In this scenario only business/enterprise versions of Windows 9 would even bother to offer legacy support through a “desktop mode”.
Either way it’s clear the Microsoft is certainly thinking to the future with its design, and it’s going to be a fun ride seeing where all of this leads. What do you think of Microsoft’s new “Windows Everywhere” approach? Will it slow the growth of recent rivals? Will it end up backfiring? Do you think Microsoft will bring Windows to its MP3 players, console, and even TV?
Share your thoughts below.