Back in January I wrote about how Windows Phone 9 and Windows 9 should integrate some of their features, including the marketplace and more. Since then, there continues to be rumors that Microsoft is doing this sooner rather than later, with Windows Blue, which could arrive sometime later this year.
The more I look at it, the more I realize that Microsoft is likely not releasing a “true” Windows 9 for many years. How many? That’s hard to say, but I truly wouldn’t be surprised if it was 3-5 years from now before it is commercially available.
Instead, Windows 8 will likely see many feature packs that are free and change and improve on the basis of Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. Blue is the first of these (if it is indeed real), but I have a feeling it won’t be the last.
So with Windows 9 likely being up to a half-decade away, perhaps it is time we think BIGGER about what changes it could bring? Although a recently leaked screenshot claimed to be Windows 9, I strongly believe it is either a hoax or it is Windows 8 Blue.
I have a feeling Windows 9 might look nothing like Windows as we know it today. Keep in mind that what I’m about to describe is totally speculation and more of a what-if scenario that shouldn’t be taken seriously.
Killing the Traditional Desktop
My past articles have talked about how killing the desktop is something that Microsoft ultimately is interested in, at least in my humble opinion. That said, it is something I didn’t think we’d see in Windows 9, back when I was thinking the OS was only 2-3 years away.
With a longer wait to Windows 9 becoming more and more likely, I think that ditching the traditional desktop could in fact be a goal with Windows 9. I also have a feeling that Windows 9 could be the same OS for phone, tablet and PC.
To achieve this Microsoft needs a scalable design that can essentially work on all kinds of platforms, but presents itself slightly differently depending on the platform it is running. A good example of this is what Canonical is attempting to accomplish with Ubuntu, as seen in the video directly below this paragraph.
The goal would be that changing settings in Windows on a phone, tablet and PC would all be from the same place. It is just that some of these options would be invisible and inaccessible to phones and even tablets – such as stuff like changing resolutions, running command prompt (if it even exists by this point), etc.
So does ditching the desktop mean the end of desktop apps? Not necessarily. What if Microsoft STILL had a Desktop Mode. Wait… but I just said they should kill it in Windows 9. No I said they should kill the “traditional” desktop.
Instead of having a robust desktop that could access control panel and all the manual power user options, integrate all of that into Windows Modern UI instead. Place EVERYTHING into Windows 9’s new UI. This means that you don’t have to jump out of Windows Modern UI just to change a few small settings.
Make it so the desktop is simply a bottom bar with a file manager and a way to launch desktop apps. All other settings and control could be done in Metro/Modern. Heck, even remove the clock, WiFi bar, etc could be removed.
IN other words, the desktop would be an ‘app’ even more than it is now. It would allow you to click an icon in Modern and launch it instantly to a desktop-like environment that would allow multi-window control of legacy Windows programs.
Sound too crazy? Maybe, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. Would it anger power users? Very possibly. At the same time it would smooth away the Frankenstein-ish way that Windows dual-UIs work now.
Pushing CTRL+ALT+DELETE would bring a task manager that was a full screen modern app. Calculator and other utilities would be converted to modern apps. All of this is possible and could be made quite attractive, but it would require Microsoft to make the modern UI more robust. Allow multiple apps to be open through “Snapping” instead of just snapping one app on the side (and only some apps work with this), etc.
I will admit that what I’m describing would have issues as well, but I don’t see how it isn’t technically possible.
That said, this is probably NOT going to happen. While it sounds interesting in my head, it could also cause additional headaches for enterprise users, legacy users and more. It might not even be possible, but regardless I do think that Windows 9 will see more functions of Windows integrated into modern, like the task manager.
What do you think, is my “idea” for the future of Windows too crazy or would turning the desktop into more of a stripped-down app something that could actually be plausible?
Just remember, don’t take this too seriously here, this was mostly for fun and I understand it isn’t necessarily a workable plan. I can dream though.
Also – do you have an idea for an alternate version of Windows? What do you think they could do radically different to help push their vision of a mobile-centric OS forward? Share your thoughts below.