If we're being totally, completely, 100 percent honest, we settled for Windows 8. That's not easy to admit, especially after applying some well needed Updates (previously known as Service Packs) that zapped some of our original complaints. Don't get us wrong, it never was, nor is it still a terrible operating system -- the comparisons to Windows ME or even Windows Vista's early days are off base -- but certainly Microsoft didn't have our best interests in mind. By "our interests," we're talking about power users, enthusiasts, and generally anyone tech savvy enough to know the difference between RAM and a hard drive. Hell, Windows 8 designer Jacob Miller admitted as much several months ago (Microsoft's good at coming clean after the fact).
Truth be told, Microsoft catered to the lowest common denominator -- the ones who call you up every 3-4 weeks because their PC is riddled with pop-up ads again -- and attempted to hold their hands as Redmond walked them through its vision of what would one day become a beautiful walled garden where new and experienced users frolicked happily among the colorful tiles singing songs of praise. Our apologies if you just threw up in your mouth a little bit.
Here's the thing -- we've grown accustomed to Windows 8, and having spent copious time with it, we no longer feel the rage we once did every time the Start screen would load. That's partially because we're now able to boot directly into the Desktop, but the bigger reason is the one we stated above. We settled, plain and simple.
With that said, Windows 9 is on the horizon, and this is Microsoft's chance to atone for Windows 8 and earn back some street cred with power users. It's a do-over, and no, it's not too late. If Windows 9 comes out and blows our minds with levels of awesome we've seen before, all will be forgiven (just as we've done before). But in order for that to happen, Microsoft has to get it right.
That's no easy task, so to help our friends at Microsoft, we came up with a list of 9 things we want to see in Windows 9. Are you reading this, Redmond? Good, because these 9 wishlist items conveniently assembled into a photo gallery collectively represent your golden ticket back into our good graces. Hit the jump to see what they are.
When Google first announced Chrome OS in 2009, among the few people who were polite enough to not dismiss it outright, and predict for it either a stillbirth or an early demise, were those who saw a merger with Android as its ultimate fate. Of course, let alone a full-blown merger, we have yet to see substantial interplay between the two platforms. The best we have seen, all these years down the line, is the ability to run a grand total of four Android apps on Chrome OS — and that too is a very recent development. Even now, Google is only working with “a select group of Android developers” and is unlikely to bring more than a handful of mobile apps to Chrome OS in the near future. Well, that’s what hacks are for, right?
Microsoft is finally ready to talk about its next version of Windows
Up to this point, we've mostly had to rely on leaked photos and videos of Windows 9, codenamed Threshold, to understand what Microsoft has in store for us beyond Windows 8. Well, the wait for official information is almost over. Microsoft has begun sending out invitations to members of the press for a "Windows event" it plans to hold on September 30, 2014, in San Francisco.
See Windows 9’s Notification Center, Start Menu and multiple desktops in action
Microsoft may not have officially lifted the curtain on Windows 9 (a.k.a “Threshold”) but if sites like WinFuture continue to have their way, the Redmond-based company will have very little new to show us when it finally does get down to unveiling its next desktop operating system. (We don’t have an issue with these leaks, though.) The German site, which recently posted a bunch of allegedly leaked screenshots of the rumored-to-be-upcoming Windows 9 Technical Preview, has now taken to posting videos that showcase some of the upcoming OS’s features.
These are the screenshots we've been waiting to see
Yes folks, it looks like the Start Menu is indeed making a long overdue comeback in Windows 9 (codenamed Threshold). A German-language website posted a bunch of screenshots of the Windows 9 Technical Preview that's due out either later this month or in early October, according to previous rumors. One of those screenshots shows the Start Menu as it will appear on the Desktop.
Jelly Bean still dominates, but KitKat is on the rise
Android 4.4.x KitKat is now baked into about a quarter of all Android devices nearly a year after it was first released -- KitKat debuted on Google's Nexus 5 handset on October 31, 2013. With 24.5 percent of all Android gadgets running KitKt, the latest release is second only to Jelly Bean and enjoys a larger market share than all previous versions combined (Ice Cream Sandwich, Gingerbread, Froyo, Donut, and Cupcake).
A basic version said to be already present in early builds
As September 30th, the day Microsoft is widely rumored to release a “technical preview” of the next version of Windows — codenamed "Threshold” and commonly referred to as Windows 9 — draws near, you can expect to see a surge in Windows 9-related reports. According to one such report, Windows Threshold is going to feature a notification center à la the Windows Phone Action Center.
With each new passing day, more Windows XP users are pulling the plug on the legacy operating system and upgrading to either Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1. We can see evidence of this in the market share trend dating back to April, which is when Microsoft stopped supporting XP. Since then, XP's share of the desktop market has dropped from 26.29 percent to 23.89 percent, while both Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 continue to make gains.
Diehard Windows XP fans are having a hard time bidding the legacy operating system farewll -- by the numbers, it's estimated that some 15 percent (StatCounter) to just under 25 percent (Net Applications) of desktops are still running Windows XP. Save for businesses that pay a fee, Microsoft killed off support for Windows XP back in April, though one developer is determined to keep it alive with a new (and unofficial) Service Pack.
Would you like a slice of Lemon Meringue Pie with your KitKat?
Fact: Bears eat beets. Bears. Beets. Battlestar Gallactica. Another fact -- every version of Android since v1.5 has been named after a sweet dessert, in alphabetical order (Cupcake, Doughnut, Eclair, and so forth). As it stands, the next version of Android is currently codenamed L, and we can think of a bunch of desserts that start with that letter. However, there's evidence to suggest that Google with run with Lemon Meringue Pie for Android L.