The time has come when we should keep Windows 8 behind us and look forward to Windows 9 aka Threshold. Microsoft tried to make people adapt to the new Metro Style UI but sadly desktop users criticized it to the extreme. Windows 8 is an OS designed for touch screens and it is not as friendly as other Windows OSes when it comes to desktop functionality. The good thing about Microsoft is that it listens to what the consumers have to say and rectify its mistakes; this is exactly what is happening in Windows 9 Threshold. So lets take a look at some of the changes coming in Windows 9’s Modern UI 2.0.
Windows 9 Modern UI 2.0; Start Menu for desktop, Live Tiles & No Charms Bar
Microsoft has promised a lot of changes in the user interface of Windows 9 Threshold especially for desktop users. It seems like the company is planning two different versions, one for desktop and one for tablets. The Metro UI is not popular among desktop users but it is certainly beneficial for tablets especially Microsoft’s own Surface. Surface is struggling on its own but its a perfect match for the Metro style UI. Major changes have been made since the début of Windows 8 all the way to Windows 8.1 Update 1 and it is safe to say that the changes were positive and helpful but its time to make things perfect with Modern UI 2.0. Frankly speaking, Microsoft cannot afford another mishap at this vulnerable stage.
Windows 9 Threshold is set for a 2015 launch and there are tonnes of changes in Modern UI 2.0. Foremost, the Start Screen is still going to be the center of attraction for tablets to compete with iOS and Android but it will be removed from the desktop. This is a great decision since being a Windows 8.1 user I hardly use Metro Apps except for Skype and One Drive. Instead, desktop users will get the all new Start Menu which will resemble the traditional design but with a change in functionality. Desktop users who are fond of the Start Screen can switch back to it but I doubt many will care much about it. Surface Pro users will certainly want the Start Screen for their convenience so Microsoft cannot remove it completely from the OS.
There is some good news for Windows RT aka Surface users as well. Microsoft is planning to remove the desktop from Windows RT’s Modern UI 2.0 and current Win32 applications are being replaced by Metro apps. Windows RT is an OS solely for tablets so why include desktop in it? We don’t see that in iOS nor Android. Instead Microsoft should have ported Windows Phone OS on to Surface RT. Anyways too little too late, but a good news for Surface RT users that with Windows 9 Threshold they can finally enjoy a proper tablet experience.
Keeping tablet and desktop two distinctive devices is a good strategy by Microsoft. This will give the company two different things to focus on and give the priority to its core users (Desktop). Moving on we have seen a little functionality of live tiles in Windows 8.1 Update 1 but it will become more interactive in Windows 9’s Modern UI 2.0. Users will able to interact with live tiles without opening the app which will both save time and system resources although it might affect memory running as a background process.
The Modern UI certainly adds to the work of a developer and they need to update their apps to support interactive live tiles functionality. Another feature which will be added in Windows 9 Threshold is the inclusion of the notification center. There are no details available about this feature yet but it will be something similar to Windows Phone OS. Windows 8.1 Update 1 allows users to make folders/groups in the Start Screen for live tiles but it is not confirmed whether this feature will land in the retail version of Windows 9 Threshold.
Microsoft’s Cortana will also make its way to Windows 9 Threshold although it was expected to début in the August update. Cortana will have its own live tile at the start screen for tablets but how Cortana will be worked out in the desktop is still not confirmed. May be something will be embedded inside the Start Menu. Lastly, as we have reported earlier Microsoft will remove the Charms Bar from Modern UI 2.0 but some aspects of it will still remain.
Windows 9 Threshold’s preview will be available at the end of next month with all these features but don’t expect all the features in the final retail version. Microsoft will experiment and observe the consumer experience and then plan on what to keep and what not to keep.