The strokers of beards and people who keep their ears to the ground have been working out what will be under the bonnet of the next Windows operating system. Many of these thoughts are based on what Microsoft kindly shared with its chum HP and OEM partners.
Obviously it is early days yet but there are some pointers. Be aware that some of these will not work, or will be dropped at the last minute.
1. Log in to your PC with your face. Who needs passwords when you computer can just look at your face and decide that you can look at your own files? Of course making a computer look at your face every morning might make it decide that it does not like the look of you. If you have a tragic disfigurement you might also not be able to get into your PC which would be a bummer.
2. Windows 8 will follow you across devices. To do this Windows 8 would have to be on a cloud. If you connect to other gear it does not really matter where you are. It does solve the problem of multiple licences.
3. Touch screens. This is practically with us anyway. However, Redmond wants to make the OS aware of the light so that you can actually see the screen when in the sunshine. The iPad is like a vampire. It can only be seen at night.
4. Watch HD movies on your wireless TV. Well not entirely wireless, you still have to plug it into the mains. But the idea is that Windows 8 will let you stream anything from the computer to the fridge onto your telly screen.
5. Download apps from the Windows App Store. Haven’t we seen this somewhere? It is clear that Microsoft is copying Jobs’ Mob.
6. Resetting things without having to wipe your data. If a virus takes out the OS then you have to do a re-install. After so many years Microsoft has never worked out a way around this that did not involve wiping your hard-drive. Windows 8 will, apparently, manage it.
7. Faster start up times. A March 2010 Windows Planning Survey polled 545 customers about 21 user activities, and found that starting the computer tops the list when it comes to “highest importance/lowest satisfaction in terms of speed and performance.” On average, Windows 7 takes 27 seconds to boot up. Vista was 40 seconds, although it felt a lot longer. Windows 8 will probably be about 15 seconds with the wind behind it. Although this might be done by using a “new off state combining the best of hibernate with a boot/shutdown look and feel.”
8. Better resource control for those who know what they are doing. There are shedloads of things in Windows 7 which require you to read the manual to find out what they do. Microsoft wants these functions to be easier to find. It should also be easier to kill off software which will not go away.
9. Er, that’s it.