Windows Threshold: What We Know, Think We Know, and Everything Else

As Microsoft closes its current Financial year, it is preparing for the coming year and the thing most of us tech enthusiasts are looking forward to; Threshold.

Threshold, for those that don’t know, is the codename for the next release of Windows along with Windows Phone and Xbox. Threshold has been a big topic in the Windows community because it is following the not so well received Windows 8. Threshold has become a symbol for those wanting a return to Windows 7 or XP.

It doesn’t help matters that what we know about Threshold is miniscule. Microsoft has been tight lipped and a lot of the information around the system is mired in conjecture and false info. With each new piece of information comes the inevitable mangling of it.

So what is really known about Threshold?

Well it will be released in 2015 with a possible preview by the end of this year. It will be focused on productivity and will be aimed at enterprise with new features. It will be based on the work started in Windows 8 and allow tablet applications to run windowed on the desktop. Windows Threshold will also bring back the Start menu.

So what do we THINK we Know?

Threshold from the two accounts I take seriously will bring the first interface refresh to the Metro UI since it appeared. On the desktop this means Metro will be optional but also designed to fit better with keyboards and mice.  The discussions around the desktop seems to be about updating both the returning Start Menu and the taskbar. The modern, flat design of Windows 8 and Windows Phone may show up in Threshold.

Another change is the merging of Microsoft’s ARM based systems Windows RT and Windows Phone. For tablets and phones this new OS will eschew the desktop that is on Windows RT for something closer to the Phone OS. There is also talk that the new OS will adopt Windows RT multitasking (side by side apps with possibility of more options). For both tablets and phones Cortana will be integrated.

What we DON’T Know

What Threshold looks like. Some speculate (read hope) it is the return of Aero and Windows 7 or XP (for masochists). Some have said the early prototype shown at Build is what it will look like (I hope not). This was followed by fakes.

Right now Windows Threshold is a McGuffin; its an unknown thing that moves the plot. Because of this we have attached our hopes and fears as to the future of Windows. We now know more, but it is still not enough. 

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