When it comes to Windows 9, things could certainly go quite a few different ways. If Windows 8 is a failure (doubtful), it could see a stronger focus on the desktop and improvements there. If Windows 8 does manage to be a success? We could see an even bigger push away from the desktop altogether.
And then there is Windows Blue, expected to arrive sometime in 2013. What is it? A service pack with a few extra features or Windows 9 coming so soon? Personally, I believe it is more than likely just a service pack with a few extra freebies, but it’s hard to say for sure.
With Microsoft already working on Windows 9, they have likely chosen to stick with the Start UI path they began with Windows 8, but it is hard to say what kind of role the desktop will play with Windows 9.
There’s also a whole other side of the equation: Windows RT. Let’s focus on Windows RT 2 for the rest of this article, since honestly I think this is a much easier topic to speculate on.
There have been some who speculate Windows RT will not last long, and eventually the ARM side of things will just merge into a future version of Windows. I agree this will eventually happen, when the desktop is fully ditched. I don’t see this happening with Windows 9, though.
There will be a Windows RT 2, I can almost bet on it.
More than likely, Windows RT 2 will not be sold as an upgrade. There are two likely scenarios for Windows RT 2 distribution, and that’s either it only comes with new ARM tablets/laptops or it is also a free upgrade for existing compatible devices.
Although Windows Phone 7 devices weren’t allowed to upgrade to Windows Phone 8, alot of it had to do with kernel changes and the switch from single to dual-core processors. For Windows RT 2 (or Windows 9 RT?), there probably won’t be as many massive changes, so an upgrade might be an easier affair.
One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard about ARM-based Windows devices so far has to do with duality of Windows RT. I’ve actually managed to finally get my hands on a friend’s new Surface RT and must agree, the idea of switching back and forth between the desktop and new Start UI is frustrating on tablets.
With Windows RT 2, the desktop needs gone. The next version should be a pure Start UI experience. Yes, that means building a Windows Store version of Office– but I think it is certainly possible.
Removing the bloat from Windows desktop will likely result in a smaller OS partition, instead of how Surface RT’s 32GB is about half-used up before you even get it thanks to system files.
Okay, so this is all pure speculation but the removal of the desktop makes sense. So does the idea of treating RT upgrades similarly to Windows Phone and other mobile platform upgrades. I suspect that Windows RT and Windows 9 will look “less similar” than RT/8 (Because of desktop removal), but will still work with the same Windows Store apps.
What do you think, should Microsoft continue with Windows RT into the future? And if they do, should the desktop be removed or not?
Any other ideas or guesses about what we might see with the next major version of Windows RT?