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Windows 9 to be released in 2015 – here’s what we know

Critics of Microsoft’s Windows operating system say that the company is on an inadvertent tick-tock strategy – if one version of Windows is good (Windows XP), the next one will be bad (Vista). That’s certainly been borne out for Windows 8, which has been coolly received at best. Indeed, HP are currently running a “Windows 7 is back!” promotion on their US store, where they’re prominently displaying PCs running the ostensibly obsolete – but much more highly regarded – earlier OS over their up-to-date brethren. Thankfully for believers in the cycle, Windows 9 isn’t too far off. Here’s what we know so far.

Windows 9 is expected to be released in 2015, after two forthcoming updates for Windows 8.1. Microsoft are intending to use the change in branding to make a clean break with Windows 8, and introduce some changes that will keep longtime users happy.

Rumoured new features have included allowing Metro apps to run in floating windows on the desktop (functionality provided by ModernMix for some time) and even the full return of the Start Menu (and not just the Start Button). Leaked screenshots of the next update to Windows 8.1 also show Metro apps being pinned to the taskbar – a definite indication that we’ll see Metro apps on the desktop in some form. This new functionality should dull the transition between Metro and desktop modes, a problem that has dogged Microsoft since the release of Windows 8.

Microsoft will be releasing the first concrete details about Windows 8.1 updates and Windows 9  at the Build 2014 developer conference in April. Tickets went on sale earlier this week, and were exhausted less than 24 hours later. Other leaks notwithstanding, that’s when we’ll get a better idea of what Redmond has in mind – and I’m quite looking forward to it.

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