Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Can 'Threshold' bring Windows 8.2 to the brink of a truly consolidated OS?

Windows 8.1 has only been in the market for about two months, and possible new features for Windows 8.2 are already being discussed (via the Supersite for Windows on Monday). What is more than a little interesting is that both for Windows 8.1 and the upcoming 8.2, Microsoft seems to be taking a cue from third-party fixes to Windows annoyances.

The codename for the version is Windows "Threshold." It is not clear if this is indeed Windows 8.2, but according to ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, Threshold is a set of post-Windows 8.1 updates to Xbox One, Windows Phone and Windows that will consolidate the OSes from a user experience perspective.

Paul Thurrotte, at SuperSite for Windows, believes that Threshold will bring Microsoft's various platforms to the brink of a unified OS.

In other new news about Threshold, it appears that Microsoft will have three SKUs for the product. The first SKU will be for a Windows RT-like version. The second will be a version like Windows 8.1, which includes both Metro and traditional desktop apps. The third version will be a more enterprise-centric version.

There is more, too. Although Microsoft re-added the Start Button back to Windows 8.1, it did not return the Start Menu. In Threshold, that will change, and the familiar old Windows menu will return as an option.

Additionally, since many users eschew the Modern UI interface and boot straight to the desktop, it's believed that Threshold will allow you to optionally run Metro apps as windows on the desktop. This can already be done with third-party utilities such as ModernMix (and Stardock, the developer, also has a utility to enable the Start Menu, too).

We have to wonder what will happen to third-party developers like Stardock if Microsoft keeps encorporating their features into the platform.

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