Build 6.4.9788 was recently spotted in Windows Store logs
We’ve known about the Start Menu’s impending comeback for over two months now. Ever since the return of what is perhaps the most iconic Windows UI item to have been left out of Windows 8 was announced by the Redmond-based company in April, there has a been a lot of speculation about the time of its comeback. If some recent reports are to be believed, it’s more likely to come back with the Windows 9 “Threshold” update than the less significant Windows 8.1 Update 2.
Plus, a Raspberry Pi competitor, Alienware's $3600 Titan-Z system, reader questions, and more!
This week on episode 227 of the No BS Podcast, the Maximum PC crew came together to chat about a supposed leak of Haswell-E specs and weigh the likelihood of a Windows 9 release this year. We also debate whether or not we'd buyAlienware's newest made-to-order system (is it a deal, or is the Titan-Z still not worth it?), and the potential of a souped-up competitor to the Raspberry Pi board, called the HummingBoard, for pet projects. All this plus staff picks, questions from readers, and a particularly spirited rant from Gordon.
Microsoft is reportedly aiming to win back its core desktop audience with the release of Windows Threshold next year. These are the same users clinging to Windows XP and Windows 7, or perhaps even made the jump to Linux in order to avoid Windows 8/8.1. Microsoft has a chance to atone for the usability mistakes it made in Windows 8/8.1 with Windows 9, and you can expect a whole bunch of new features aimed at desktop users.
Don't hold your breath waiting for the return of the Start menu
Microsoft did Windows users a solid by bringing back the Start button in Windows 8.1, but has stubbornly refused to give back the Start menu for those who want it. Last we heard, the Start Menu would indeed make a comeback, the question is when, and the answer might not be with Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8.1 Update 2 -- instead, the Start menu may not make a comeback until Windows 9.
Different reports point to different release schedules
Speaking at last year’s Build conference, then Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer stated that moving to a rapid release cadence was “fundamental to what we’re doing, and what we must to do to mobilize our ecosystem and our partners.” Since that proclamation, we’ve already seen the company release two updates (albeit of varying significance), and a third, presumably called Windows 8.1 Update 2, is rumored for release later this year. But what about next year?
Microsoft is allegedly prepping a second update to Windows 8.1
Through the release of Windows 8.1 last year and the minor update that followed it this month, Microsoft has made an effort to attune the latest version of Windows to the tastes of purists (of which there are plenty, going by Windows 8’s lackluster showing). The concessions, as we learnt at Build 2014 earlier this month, are going to continue, with the sorely missed Start Menu all set to make a comeback at an as-yet-unknown time in the future.
Microsoft hopes new branding will help distance itself from Windows 8 criticisms
There will be an update to Windows 8.1 sometime later this year, which isn't surprising because Microsoft never stops working on Windows. Beyond that, however, Microsoft is reportedly gearing up to announce Windows 9 during its Build 2014 developer conference in April. Should things go plan, Windows 9, or "Threshold" if you prefer to use the codename, will launch to consumers a year later.
We're still waiting for Windows 8.1 to roll out to the masses, which will introduce a host of new features to arguably Microsoft's most controversial version of Windows to date. Is it too early to start looking ahead to what comes next? Not according to a Russian message board where a user called WZOR claims to have the inside scoop. This isn't the first time WZOR has leaked information about Microsoft's plans.
How do you predict the future? It’s easy: There’s going to be a Windows 9 in a few years – unless Microsoft pulls an Apple and just goes with, “The New Windows,” or “Windows,” or something. As for what might be inside Microsoft’s future operating system, however, that’s a whole ‘nother ballgame.
It’s not that hard to get caught up in some childlike fantasy when asked to predict the future path of Microsoft’s main OS. You know – Windows 9 will allow your desktop to transform into a giant robot, or Windows 9 will be an on-the-fly hybrid OS that transforms into a simpler version of Metro for free-floating tablet devices and the full-fledged Windows 9 when these devices are connected up to a dock/keyboard setup.
Honestly, I kind of like the robot idea.
But let’s get serious. What’s the likely future direction of Microsoft Windows? Even considering that the general consumer reaction to Windows 8 – assuming it’s not just a Band-Aid for tablets while Microsoft devotes the core of its resources to a completely revamped version of the OS – will likely play a role in what Microsoft decides to do within its big follow-up.