Editor’s Note: Sometimes you write a piece and it either hits fast or it stops and starts. I’ve written a number of posts lately that I want to put out for general consumption, but are not finished writings. Their unreleased tracks that up until now have crowded up my notebook. So staring now I will release them as is, without edit (and sometimes ending). First up is MoS.
One of the things I glanced over in my first Windows 9 concept was Windows RT. Windows RT is a strange animal largely because its not considered REAL Windows. RT doesn’t run programs built for x/86 and the tablet platform has a smaller app catalogue than iOS or Android. In many ways it is similar to Chrome OS except that Chrome doesn’t get the same criticism as virulently.
From what we know Windows RT will be merging with the other ARM based Windows, Windows Phone sometime between next year or 2015. Now this changes a lot of things for my Win9 concept (and my kind of aborted Windows Phone one too); the fact that Microsoft and Nokia (which hardware division will soon be Redmond’s) are the only makers of RT devices have put the poor thing on deathwatch. It also makes me wonder how much of my Win9 concept should bleed over into RT/Phone.
One thing rumored is that the new head of Operating Systems (the group now in charge of all systems at Microsoft) is thinking of making a mobile SKU for x/86 and ARM based on this new hybrid. I should add that both the former and current head of Windows have alluded to the idea of a mobile OS (word used was turnkey) for tablets and phones. We will soon see the next version of Windows Phone so this is just my initial ideas for the merged OS.
One of the big issues for me is about the Desktop. Right now there is a desktop on RT but its main purpose is so users can access Microsoft Office which is preinstalled. Once Office for Tablets is released the main purpose of the desktop will be gone; add to that an OS containing Windows Phone apps will need it even less.
Or will it?
I think part of RT’s charm and versatility comes from the fact its Windows lite. RT provides an environment free of the stuff that clogs Windows. It is also immune to the viruses that can effect Windows machines. An RT device like the Surface can do all the things a traditional Windows box can do save natively run x/86 programs. So it can run multiple monitors and has remote desktop and can do more than two things at once.
Now multitasking Modern apps is pretty basic they sit in a pocket on left side and get be brought out by gesturing (mouse or touch). On Windows Phone there is a task launcher that you use by holding down the back button and you flip through apps similar to webOS’s Cards. Now one of the things I have been thinking about is should this OS (let’s call it MoS) have a desktop or something else?
In making MoS, the OS team is essentially creating a lighter, locked down system aimed at high mobility from phones to devices like the Chromebook. One thing I think shouldn’t be lost is the flexibility of RT as it is now, but possibly a difference of multitasking.
One concept I had was the workspace. Workspace would take the Phone task switcher and blow it up for use on tablets and devices. It would be similar to webOS’s cards which I think is as close as we’ll get to mobile multitasking. The workspace would replace the desktop and possibly mimic it on MoS devices with clamshell bodies.
The other concept I had in mind is something borrowed from Ubuntu and Motorola. On certain Windows Phones running MoS it will be possible to use them as literal “Pocket PCs” for light computing. It would be a feature of using MoS.
One other aspect of MoS and one aimed directly at Google’s Chrome would be the new Internet Explorer. IE11 has done a lot in modernizing the browser; now is the time to weaponize it. The next IE should be built with the idea of handling web apps and filling in the gaps in the platform. So for example pinning a website like Google Books means it will open and work like an app and not a webpage. IE has a limited version of this but this takes it further.