What to Expect from Windows 10 in 2015

Posted on January 12, 2015 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 0 Comments

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With Microsoft set to announce its plans for the consumer features in Windows 10 next week, all eyes are turning towards Redmond. But you don’t need a crystal ball to know what’s coming in 2015: This is the year that Windows gets awesome again.

It seems like something new leaks about Windows 10 almost every day, and it’s easy to get fixated on the specifics. But there’s plenty of time for that: indeed, I plan to spend much of 2015 simply documenting everything that’s going on with Windows 10, both here on this site and in the upcoming book Windows 10 Field Guide. For now, let’s just consider the big picture stuff.

Windows 10 will solve real problems. With Windows 8, Microsoft antagonized the vast majority of its user base by creating a version of its flagship OS that forced mobile UIs on traditional PC users and forced the desktop UI on mobile users, and it did so without offering a single concession to reverting to previous versions of the user experience. Windows 10 solves these problems by providing users experiences that are appropriate for, and optimized for, the type of device you’re actually using.

Windows 10 will be a great upgrade for Windows 7 users. Unlike Windows 8, Windows 10 will look and work the way Windows 7 users on traditional PC form factors expect. It will boot to the desktop, feature a Start menu, and let you run mobile apps in floating windows alongside desktop applications and web apps.

Windows 10 will be a great upgrade for Windows 8 users. For that minority of people who actually did like the Modern user experience introduced in Windows 8, good news: Windows 10 will look and work much like Windows 8 on touch-based devices and will move seamlessly between touch/mobile and desktop PC interfaces on hybrid PCs with detachable or transforming screens.

Windows 10 will be a great upgrade for Windows Phone users. Thanks to Microsoft’s One Windows strategy, Windows 10 will also be an upgrade for Windows Phone 8 users, offering universal apps that work between the platforms, a single online store, and more powerful experiences that we’ve come to expect from Big Windows.

There are of course questions, and it’s possible we’ll get some answers at the January 21, 2015 event at which Microsoft will introduce its consumer preview.

Key among these is the fate of Windows RT, the ARM-based version of Windows that flamed out horribly with customers. Those with Surface RT, Surface 2, and other Windows RT-based devices are wondering whether Microsoft will even offer an upgrade to Windows 10. And many are wondering about rumors that Microsoft will combine Windows Phone and Windows RT into a single ARM-based OS that will run on both phones and tablets.

Here is my take on this.

I do not expect Microsoft to upgrade existing Windows RT devices to Windows 10, for two reasons. One, that user base is very small. And two, supporting a new OS for several years going forward on this performance-challenged hardware would be a mistake. This would of course infuriate the early adopters who did buy into the Windows RT vision, and of course my next point below suggests that an upgrade will actually be available. So why not let users have it?

I do expect Microsoft to combine Windows Phone and Windows RT into a single SKU of Windows aimed at both phones and tablets. And while I feel that the firm should use the name Windows Mobile for that product, they almost certainly will simply call it, simply, Windows. You can make a case for either name, of course. But this will provide for a more mature product overall, where you will be able to run the bigger library of Windows Phone apps and games on tablets, fixing a key problem with that ecosystem, and will be able to use what is essentially the next version of Windows Phone on bigger devices. Win-win.

So we’ll see what develops next week. But whatever the specifics, I see a bright future for Windows 10. And I see an OS that reverses the wrongs of the past and positions Microsoft’s most important platform the future.

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Comments (4)

4 responses to “What to Expect from Windows 10 in 2015”

  1. Christian Gäng

    I hope that Microsoft doesnt get the hopes up too high.
  2. James Fraas

    So Wednesday's the day
  3. Amir

    They should bring back Aero, same as it was with Win 7. Aero in Win 7 looks so much better. Easier to look at andnavigate. One of the reasons Windows 7 out sells Windows 8. Aero on Windows 7 was nice, it was visually rich and had its own identity, now it’s all bleak and empty. I don’t like it. I think taskbar transparency works better with the blur effect; because it lets the wallpaper show but does not disturb readability too much. In Windows 8 they disabled blur, now they disable transparency… I don’t know why, either. I was perfectly OK with how windows 7 looked. I don’t like the new non-transparent taskbar ( in leaked build 9901) . I think it was nice. Now it looks more and more like metro/modern UI, or a very old windows 95 or 98 thing. Don’t get me wrong, flat design per se can be nice, but these changes look like Windows and Windows Phone are closer and closer, and a phone OS is NOT what I want on my production machines. Too much minimalism can be a bad thing you know. I think we all need to roll back a few steps. We have beautiful display screens, but onscreen is a pure flat Fisher Price-like interface. I don't like having everything super vivid and realistic looking, but same time this flattened out 2d trend is getting SUPER old. There should be a fair balance. We should have an option to bring back Aero ,transparency, and blur effects as it was in Win 7 along with rounded corners, buttons, etc., as opposed to the full square windows in Windows 8.1
  4. Amir

    Metro UI should be optional. I hope Microsoft finally get things together and do NOT force-include metro UI elements in the desktop UI. This is stupid, ugly (as it breaks consistence among the platform), and counterproductive for advanced users. On the other hand, users who choose Metro UI shouldn’t have to switch to desktop if they don’t want to. For instance, having to go to the desktop on an ARM tablet (which doesn’t have real applications like on x86) is strange because the desktop is only used for the file explorer (almost). So they should clearly separate desktop/tablet/mobile usage schemes. Regarding the Win 10 leaked build 9901: Metro is becoming desktop-like and the former desktop environment is being ironed out. Even the taskbar is Metrofied. It's all still an ugly mess, but I think we can see where they're heading with this build. Another disaster in the making?!? Releasing different SKUs is the idea they should have gone with from the start (desktop only for mouse-keyboard computers, both UIs for tablets such as the Surface Pro, and Metro only for low-end, cheap ARM tablets).I sure do hope they stick to that idea, because all the Metro/Modern UI takes space on the drive and makes the whole system more complex for nothing, at least for me who don't use it at all.(plus it's super annoying to have metro UI pop, for example, when searching for Bluetooth devices. Why ?) I never ever use Metro UI on my computers on windows 8. I never ever use it on my PC (except to add Bluetooth devices, because there is no other way), and not anymore on my Surface Pro, despite it being a tablet. Such a low-density UI is not appropriate for any serious usage, and MS should have let users choose not to install it altogether. Win 8.1 apart from that, I must say it’s a pretty good OS : Better frame-rate in games and overall performance, very stable, nice new task manager and file copy dialogs, Ribbon for FileExplorer, BitLocker not needing a TPM to run anymore, make it a very good system. But users focus on the Metro UI problem (though they can avoid it altogether), which makes the switch difficult for them. Looking forward for Win 10.

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