It looks like we're on the threshold ... of Threshold.
The next version of Microsoft Windows, code-named Threshold, is set for a "technology preview" in late September or early October, reports ZDnet. That's fancy geek speak for a beta or pre-release testing version, and like Apple did last month, Microsoft will make the beta public.
That's right. You. Me. Anyone who hates Windows 8. We can all test Windows 9 -- though putting testing software on your primary PC is not the brightest idea.
What It Is
What is "Threshold"? It's Windows 9, also known as, "Oh crap, Windows 8 bombed like Windows Vista -- lets push out the fixes under a new name so that people will buy it." And much like Windows 7 was everything Windows Vista was not, the same will likely be true for Windows 9.
Want more specifics? Here are a few things we're excited about:
- The return of the traditional Start menu;
- "Metro" apps can run in windows, instead of full-screen only;
- The "Charms" bar, which served no real purpose, is dead;
- Cortana, Microsoft's Virtual Assistant (like Apple's Siri) might be included as well -- it's like Clippy, but useful!
Basically, they're taking Windows 8's modern, flat graphics and tying them in with Windows 7's desktop-friendly interface.
Why It Matters
Nobody voluntarily bought Windows 8 (or 8.1). Sure, it came bundled on a lot of new PCs, but really, it's somehow losing market share to its predecessor, the venerable Windows 7, despite being out for a couple of years now.
One might even speculate wildly that the decline in PC sales is due, in part, to Windows 8 -- everyone in the know knows that Windows 9 is coming in the near-term, so why buy now, before the "fixed" version is ready?
The bottom line: Windows 8.x isn't very good for desktop computers (unless you tweak it), the kind with keyboards and mice, the kind you use in your law firm. It's fine for tablets and touchscreen computers, but that doesn't do you, a working professional, a whole lot of good, does it? Windows 9 will (hopefully) fix that, and for those curious about the next big thing, or those who hate Windows 8.x, you can test-drive the new version as early as next month.
Will it get me to migrate from Windows 7? We'll see.
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