What is next for Windows?

Windows for Microsoft is the largest and the most successful product of Microsoft has evolved greatly over the years and decades. From Windows 95 to the latest version of the product-Windows 10 was said to be the last major OS release as said by employees just before release of it two years back in 2015. However, the statement still stands true as of now, as Microsoft is continuously revising Windows 10 by two major feature upgrades per year keeping up the promise and they as of yet has no plans to introduce a thing like Windows 11. There are some things where the things stand pretty clear and some things which are still opaque about the future of it. Here is a discussion about Windows since they released windows 10.

The Background

Windows 10 was released in July 2015 to the masses. The build number from Windows 8 jumped from 98XX to 10240, which meant a lot of changes-which was true. The initial two feature upgrades were from Threshold branch-which was a codename when Windows 10 was in development. The first two upgrades featured more on fine tuning and shaping the OS. With the Anniversary update, Microsoft changed the branch to Redstone-which the software giant planned in long run. Things started from Redstone 1 and still is continuing. The current release called the fall Creators update is codenamed Redstone 3 and the future upgrade for which Insider builds are about to release for skip ahead is Redstone 4. No comment on which the major lab change would occur. 

The present

As of now, Redstone 2 aka Creators update is the stable build or called the production build, released April 2017. With creator's update, Microsoft's aim was to improve productivity by introduction of apps like Paint 3D, Remix reality etc. In other words, Creativity had a focus in Redstone 2. Gaming is the another aspect which wass one of the major focus. Microsoft Edge and Cortana continued to get more features.

What's next that we know

The future of Windows is still unclear if we count in the next few years. However for the next feature upgrade called Fall Creators update which is due to release in October this year, things have become pretty clear now. With Redstone 3, Microsoft introduced a new design language called Fluent or Acrylic design which improves UI by a significant thing. This language however only applies to UI and core OS parts. As it is just introduced, Redstone 3 is the base for Acrylic design and would be continuously improved more over the next feature upgrades. Microsoft is also getting its focus now on Android and iOS as they introduced a feature recently that allows you to pick up sites which you had opened in your phone to your PC. Another cool feature is One drive placeholders, which allows you to download selective files from the cloud if you need. Pretty handy if you have a large data in your Onedrive. Microsoft also continues to improve features like handwriting and accessibility.
Some features, as promised by Microsoft also have been postponed and expected in Redstone 4 as well. These are namely:
  • Microsoft Graph+Timeline: Microsoft Graph, would keep all the track of your activities be it on your phone or on the computer you do like Typing a document, listening Music etc. Timeline would help you in accessing all of them at a single place like your computer. Quite cool if it is fully utilized. Essenttialy, this is another fined tuned version of Pick up where you left off which supports Android and iOS as well.

  • Clipboard Synchronization on your phone and PC: Another feature that lets you access clipboards from your phone to PC and vice versa. Please note that both of these features require Cortana to be linked to your MS account in Phone and PC. 

What we don't know

There are many things that is in the cards for Windows which would come down but still is clear when these would be available. The one is:
  • No Control Panel, only Settings app: They would be moving everything to the settings app, but the pace is so slow that when this would complete is still unknown.
  • Cloud version of the OS: There were some reports by sources from MS employees that Microsoft might introduce a cloud version of the OS that only would download selected files from the cloud needed to run Windows. For example, if you don't have a device like a printer, no files related to it would be downloaded.
  • Windows store apps having large usage apps : Apps have started coming to store like Apple iTunes, but still the majority of the apps are traditional Win32 apps which do not follow the road what Microsoft is trying to lay. For example Acrylic design. Most probably you are using either Chrome or IE to read this article, which are still not present in the windows store. Microsoft is pushing hard, but still they have to do a lot of work to convince more companies to bring their apps.

Pricing and Micellaneous

Another thing is the cost of using the Windows. In this free OS era, can Microsoft still hold its share as it is now? (The actual stats show 90 percent, but I am pretty sure it is far greater than this). Google's Android and Chromium are free for all to use and same is the case for Apple's MacOS. I think the Redmond giant might release a free version of Windows someday as not to loose share in the market. This was planned by Microsoft as I heard as they were likely to introduce Windows 8.1 with Bing which would have been a free version of Windows. But, this was postponed to later on. Now, Windows 10 S the UWP only version of Microsoft windows can be released as free version of Windows. This is all in all profitable for the software giant. Majority of the users here in Asia use pirated OS, just because of the cost. If in case, there is a free version the piracy would reduce significantly.
Microsoft might also try to offer more Virtual reality features together with more XBox features in the future as well. Other things like offering a greater degree of security and fine tuning things according to the feedback from the users and Insiders would continue as they are doing it from past as well.
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